Indigenous Nations in Postracial America: Rethinking Social Inclusion

Stephen Cornell, Miriam Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article presents the concept of social inclusion as a means of addressing problems of poverty and social welfare and reviews the place of social inclusion in U.S. policies toward Indigenous peoples within U.S. boundaries. We argue that there are a number of problems with the present policy application of social inclusion to Indigenous peoples in the United States, including external conceptions of needs, individualization, an orientation to distributional as opposed to positional politics, and the conditionality of inclusion. We review some of the ways that Indigenous peoples are challenging the assumptions that underlie inclusionary policy goals. We then consider how a revised concept of social inclusion that comprehends the distinctiveness of Indigenous aspirations for self-determination, nationhood, and collective self-government might benefit not only Native Americans but the United States itself and how it might contribute to a postracial America. Our argument throughout is not with social inclusion as an ideal but with the particular version of it that has characterized late 20th and early 21st century policy toward Native peoples in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-129
Number of pages19
JournalReview of Black Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • American Indian
  • Indigenous
  • Indigenous social policy
  • Native American
  • social inclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Economics and Econometrics


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