Spiritual, Material, and Political Relationships to Land
I explore the wider implications of this study for global environmental governance and return to a discussion of how political ecology and indigenous studies might be articulated. Throughout the book, I highlight various countermovements that exemplify the dialectics of Cherokee state transformation, or the complex interplay of modes of establishing and maintaining legitimacy. For the Cherokee Nation, state-building has always been a contested process, but it is precisely the engagement of Cherokee communities and community groups that has made the state form successful. Today this engagement is most prominently manifested in the balancing of the resource-and relationship-based approaches to environmental governance. Cherokees have much work ahead of them in this regard due to colonial acts that disrupted Cherokee relationships to the land and led to significant environmental changes. Nonetheless, I hope to demonstrate that in the Cherokee Nation, state structures help create and maintain the political, physical, social, and ideological space for the protection and stewardship of our lands on our own terms and that we all have something to learn by looking closely at this process.
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