Strategic citizenship: Negotiating Public Law 280 in Arizona, 1953-1968

Katherine Osburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes how Arizona's Indigenous leaders responded to attempts by the Arizona legislature to impose the state's criminal and civil jurisdiction over Indian reservations under Public Law 280. Indigenous Arizonans' activism included requiring tribal consent to any jurisdictional changes, significant crosscultural cooperation in law enforcement, and insistence that non-Indian officials respect Indigenous methods of jurisprudence and learn from them. In each of these campaigns, Indigenous Arizonans articulated a vision of citizenship grounded in the opportunity to develop one's "full potential" as an American citizen. This language signaled a hybrid political identity: sovereign Indigenous peoples with a unique contribution to make to America, who as Arizonans were entitled to participate in post-World War II prosperity as equal citizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-20
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs
  • Consent of the governed
  • Indigenous jurisprudence
  • Public Law 280
  • Termination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology


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