Entangled sovereignties

The Osage Nation's interconnections with governmental and corporate authorities

by JEAN DENNISON

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Even as Indigenous authority over land remains under attack through ongoing settler-colonial processes, Native nations continue to pursue their own agendas. Like the negotiations around sovereignty across the globe, the result is a web of interconnected authorities. Native nations, US counties and states, the federal government, and various corporations constantly deploy creative tactics, calculated disruptions, and negotiated compromises in an effort to gain and maintain authority over a territory. As demonstrated by Osage political history, tobacco sales tax negotiations, and battles over industrial wind parks, acting as a sovereign creates interconnection with other governments. Considered in light of these ongoing negotiations, sovereignty is not freedom from external control but is, rather, an inescapable web of negotiation, contention, and concession that leads to further entanglement.