How to stop a story that is always being told? Or, how to change
a story that is always being told? The story that settler- colonial
nation- states tend to tell about themselves is that they are new;
they are beneficent; they have successfully “settled” all issues prior
to their beginning. If, in fact, they acknowledge having compli-
cated beginnings, forceful beginnings, what was there before that
process occupies a shadowy space of reflection; it is allowed a blue
future- life in cinematographic narratives such as Avatar, a ghostly
prior- life in horror films, and a deeply regulated life in law and
economic distribution. Indians, or Native people, are not imag-
ined to flourish, let alone push or interrupt the stories that are
being told. In this book I have documented and theorized an on-
going interruption of the story of settlement. The life that I doc-
ument and theorize from is not only biological and does not only
belong in the statistician and census taker’s ledger, or the geneti-
cists’ tableau. This is political life that, in its insistence upon cer-
tain things—such as nationhood and sovereignty—fundamentally
interrupts and casts into question the story that settler states tell
about themselves.
I started this book with three claims and three recent events
that signal a form of Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee, sovereignty
today. First, I asserted that one sovereignty can be embedded
in another; second, that refusal is an alternative to recognition;
and finally, that Indigenous politics require a deep historical ac-
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