Seasons of change

David Wilkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Indigenous nations, like all human collectivities, are fluid and dynamic polities in a perpetual, if futile, quest for long-term stability and security. Human nature - rational or irrational, noble or ignoble, innately conservative or essentially progressive - limited and finite natural resources, and changing demographics are three of the major factors that historically have served as effective deterrents of long-term stasis and continuity in the community life of Homo sapiens. There are simply too many unknown dimensions and unknowable factors that mitigate against indigenous or nonindigenous communities' locating that perfect place of balance and harmony in their ever-changing interpersonal, interracial, and interspecies relations. Thus, for aboriginal peoples, no Shangri-la existed before European invasion and settlement. And certainly none has existed since the invasion of North America and its subsequent developments - depopulation jrom diseases, internecine wars, genocidal and ethnocidal policies aimed at the extinction of indigenous life and culture, and the ongoing problems of tribal economic dependency and federal political dominance. Together, these developments have shattered the possibility of tribal peoples' comfortably evolving on their own imperfect terms. That said, First Nations have proven remarkably adept at adjusting to their changed conditions. By retaining essential elements of traditional institutions, modifying existing institutions and attitudes, and even generating new institutions, they are strengthening their own governments while sustaining and even enhancing the relative sovereignty of their nations in their political affairs with the intruding polities that have settled in their midst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Indian Constitutional Reform and the Rebuilding of Native Nations
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)0292712812, 9780292712812
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

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    Wilkins, D. (2006). Seasons of change. In American Indian Constitutional Reform and the Rebuilding of Native Nations (pp. 35-48). University of Texas Press.