The Introduction lays out the book’s central claim that, in the 1970s, energy tribes expanded their capacity to govern reservation resources and thus secured a belated recognition of their legal authority to develop these assets. After first describing the antiquated legal structure that prevented tribes from controlling reservation development, the introduction highlights the transformative role the Northern Cheyenne played in halting mining projects threatening its community. This tribe also spearheaded a national movement to prepare similarly situated tribes to control energy development and to demand changes in federal law that recognized tribal sovereignty over reservation resources. The Introduction situates this story of expanding tribal sovereignty within American Indian historiography on the Indian self-determination policy, but shows how it provides a surprisingly missing explanation for how tribes reclaimed control over their resources. In addition, this work contributes to the literature in energy and environmental history by demonstrating how local actions to shape development emanated out to affect global resource flows and the national legal structures governing those resources.
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