This article offers a brief history of “sovereignty,” unmooring it from Western governance and the right to kill, in order to trace the life of the term within the field of Native (Indigenous) politics and Studies. Within this field, the practice of “critique” is central, examining conditions of dispossession and exploitation within other disciplines that refuse or devalue knowledge about Indigenous peoples. Historically, “critique” has been vital to Native and Indigenous Studies, which emerged from the liberatory and resistant politics of the late sixties and seventies across North America, as well as from decolonization movements and the specificities (and sovereignties) of Indian country. A developing field at that moment, Native and Indigenous Studies saw that the needs of Indigenous communities were tied directly to forms of resistance and redress but as well to the terrains of knowledge within contemporary academic institutions. As such, disciplinary formation and the critique, if not dismantling of dispossessing disciplines, became key sites for liberation, along with lands and waters.

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