Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Joe Bryan

Second Advisor

Kristen Carpenter

Third Advisor

Charles Wilkinson

Fourth Advisor

Mara Goldman

Fifth Advisor

Jim Enote


This dissertation seeks to give agency back to Tribes as conscious and deliberate actors in the resource management debate. It examines how the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is implementing an Integrated Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resources Management Plan on the reservation through the lens of legal geography to argue that federally guided resource planning is both good and bad, but more importantly, is best for doing something else. This dissertation shows that the Tribe engages in resource planning to employ the governing power of property vis-à-vis resources in order to increase its power as a sovereign through new governable spaces outside of the reservation boundaries. By reconsidering the utility of resource management this dissertation suggests a `third-movement' of property as a tool for re-ordering traditional relationships with the federal government that can be multiply employed both within and outside of the nomosphere of the state, broadly construed. In examining how the Tribe navigates the enmeshment of space, law, and power as means for asserting itself as a sovereign outside of reservation boundaries, this dissertation submits a model of Native territoriality that exists outside of traditional lands. In doing so, this dissertation pushes on the traditional role of place as necessarily generative and limiting of tribal sovereignty to promote a shift from an absolutist and land-based understanding of sovereignty towards an understanding of tribal sovereignty as a diffuse mode of governance.