How do we explain not just the survival of Indian people in the United States against very long odds but their growing visibility and political power at the opening of the twenty-first century? Within this one story of indigenous persistence are many stories of local, regional, national, and international activism that require a nuanced understanding of what it means to be an activist or to act in politically purposeful ways. Even the nearly universal demand for sovereignty encompasses multiple definitions that derive from factors both external and internal to Indian communities. Struggles over the form and membership of tribal governments, fishing rights, dances, casinos, language revitalization, and government recognition constitute arenas in which Indians and their non-Indian allies ensure the survival of tribal community and sovereignty. Whether contesting termination locally, demanding reparations for stolen lands in the federal courts, or placing their case for decolonization in a global context, American Indians use institutions and political rhetorics that they did not necessarily create for their own ends.