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Anthropology Symposium: Daliyah Killsback

Monday, March 20, 2023 4:15pm to 5:45pm

3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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"Contested Waters and Settler Precarity: the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes—Montana Water Compact"

Monday, March 20, 2023 4:15pm to 5:45pm - Vollum 116

The 2021 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes—Montana (CSKT-MT) Water Compact was characterized by Congress to “finalize” tribal water rights issues in Montana. The Compact relinquished nearly all possible future water claims off-reservation for the tribe, and “resolved” both tribal and settler claims within the Flathead Reservation’s borders. After decades of negotiation, however, water rights in and around the Reservation remain contested. Rather than finalizing water rights, the Compact demonstrated competing and negotiated definitions of sovereignty, nationhood, territory, and water. The settler-colonial entanglement that tribal nations must navigate illustrates how the reservation is a legal and territorial space of contention, and water’s multifarious forms highlight settler precarity. Settler precarity is demonstrated in contradictory federal Indian policies and juridical practice, territorializing discourse amongst settlers, and rearticulations of racialized American Indians in settler imagination. In this talk, I will discuss what is at stake and for whom, the legal foundations of tribal reserved water rights, as well as the CSKT’s assertion of tribal sovereignty beyond the confines of settler law and territory.

Daliyah Killsback (they/them/theirs) is a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, a descendant of the Assonet Band of the Wampanoag Nation, and grew up in Missoula and on the Flathead and Northern Cheyenne reservations in Montana. They received their BA in Anthropology from Reed College and are currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Daliyah’s research focuses on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Northern Cheyenne Nation’s water rights, tribal sovereignty, extraction, Indigenous environmental justice, and the jurisdictional complexities of the reservation system. Prior to graduate school, Daliyah was a community organizer and advocate for issues impacting Indian Country and tribal sovereignty. Their policy work has included healthcare, education, tribal fishing and water rights, voting rights, criminal justice, MMIW, and LGBTQIA2S+ rights.

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