This essay examines the present-day conditions of settler colonialism in the United States by focusing on the constitutive force of liberal juridical and proprietary regimes and the historical permutations of federalism. Goldstein argues that white settler colonialism in the United States is articulated with the present-day constellation of neoliberal antistatism and post–civil rights “color-blind” discourse. His argument is developed through an analysis of the U.S. vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, the Supreme Court ruling on City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York (2005), and contemporary antisovereignty groups organizing against American Indian self-determination. Antisovereignty activists contend that U.S. federal Indian law confers “special rights” based on race to tribes and that tribal sovereignty not only deprives Indian members of constitutional rights, but also promotes privileged “racial” separatism fundamentally hostile to the principles of U.S. democracy. Attending to the problematic formulations of the antisovereignty movement, Goldstein considers how this rhetoric is both articulated and disarticulated from the broader structures of governance and juridical authority in the United States. This essay considers the role of settler land claims historically and in the present, and studies how contemporary antisovereignty initiatives amplify the history of North American conquest and genocide in order to argue against the legitimacy of current tribal claims to land and self-determination.

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