The imposition of modern American colonial rule has defined U.S.-indigenous relations since the time of the American Civil War. In resistance, Kevin Bruyneel asserts, indigenous
political actors work across American spatial and temporal boundaries, demanding rights and resources from the government while also challenging the imposition of colonial rule over
their lives. This resistance engenders what he calls a "third space of sovereignty," which resides neither inside nor outside the U.S. political system but rather exists on its
boundaries, exposing both the practices and limitations of American colonial rule.
|"The Third Space of Sovereignty is a valuable theoretical consideration that presents new models for understanding both Native agency and the inconsistencies of colonial policy. It will augment the growing body of literature that no longer perverts American exceptionalism to cast U.S. domestic colonialism as somehow sanitarily distinct from the complexities and injustices that plague other settler societies in Africa, Oceania, and elsewhere."|
— The Journal of American History
"An extremely cogent and thought-provoking piece of scholarship that charts new territory in the literature. . . . The Third Space of Sovereignty will surely stand as a model for interdisciplinary theorizing about indigenous politics and nationhood."
"Bruyneel richly documents US schizophrenic policy vacillations between imperialism and liberal democratic values."
The Third Space of Sovereignty offers fresh insights on such topics as the crucial
importance of the formal end of treaty-making in 1871, indigenous responses to the prospect of U.S. citizenship in the 1920s, native politics during the tumultuous civil rights era of
the 1960s, the question of indigenousness in the special election of California's governor in 2003, and the current issues surrounding gaming and casinos.
In this engaging and
provocative work, Bruyneel shows how native political actors have effectively contested the narrow limits that the United States has imposed on indigenous people's ability to define
their identity and to develop economically and politically on their own terms.
Kevin Bruyneel is assistant professor of politics at Babson College.