Description: Within the Peace River Oil Sands patch of Alberta, Canada, white settlers actively avoid awareness of the pollution and social violence their Indigenous neighbors experience daily. To do so, they erect racial boundaries that separate them from their Indigenous Other with violent consequences. Their avoidance both produces and is enabled through a settler coloniality – a racial hierarchy that allocates political, economic, and cultural power inequitably to privilege settlers and marginalize Indigenous nations, better securing state and industry access to natural resource regions. This allocation of power drives the formation of the Canadian nation-state and provides significant material benefit to its white citizens, but often to the detriment of First Nations communities. Application of theory from environmental anthropology, critical Native and race studies, and decolonial and phenomenological methods reveals that processes of historical narration, spatial practice, and Anglo-Canadian perception of Indigenous bodies and space work concurrently to reproduce the settler coloniality that allows tar sands development to expand in the absence of local political opposition. I conclude that settlers’ refusal to cross the boundaries they create denies them the ability to see Indigenous neighbors in their full humanity, reinforces stereotypes, and thus prolongs environmental injustice in settler societies. This argument is driven by an engaged praxis, meant to assist in dismantling harmful racial boundaries across settler nations; that wherever Indigenous nations, peoples of color, and settlers live together we achieve the cessation of the social and environmental violence that justice, reconciliation, and human rights all demand.

Excerpt: It is my contention that Indigenous new media arts have particularly flourished across the parts of the “Anglo-world” that are the result of the early waves of British settler colonialism, most notably in countries such as Canada, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and the United States (including Hawai’i). There are a number of reasons why Indigenous new media art initiatives have really been able to thrive across this particular geopolitical framework. Firstly, there is the nature of settler colonialism itself and the type of transnational dynamics it leaves us with. In distinguishing between colonialist and settler colonialist frameworks, critics have noted that while the former privileges a centre-periphery dynamic, settler colonialism is “inherently transnational” and requires a “‘networked’ frame of analysis” to capture the movements and exchanges between colonies. Nonetheless, although the phenomenon of setter colonialism has the capacity to bypass the original metropole, it still depends on that metropole for the provision shared cultural values and a lingua franca through which cultural sharing may take place. Thus, from the outset, there is a network of settler communities with lots in common and a shared language in which to explore similarities and differences. Furthermore, while the original circuitry of settler colonial “worlds” is based on the movement and exchanges between settlers rather than the Indigenous peoples the settlers sought to displace, assimilate or eliminate, the same overarching networks and linguas francas have also been strategically appropriated by Indigenous peoples to provide the framework for the growth of a pan-Indigenous movement that has blossomed over the last forty years. 

Excerpt: Settler nationhood, by necessity, positions Indigenous Peoples as oppositional—to both settlement and nationhood. Historically, this opposition was viewed, from the settler perspective of process, as something to be overcome, either through eradication or assimilation. Contemporarily, settlerism is often framed as the process having been completed, under which the eradication and erasure of Indigenous Peoples is a foregone, or assumed, conclusion. Indigenous sovereignties and communities are deemed obsolete, or temporary nuisance situations that will ultimately disappear through assimilation. This is true even in those settler states that declare allegiance to nation-to-nation relationships with the Indigenous Peoples within their borders. This essay explores ongoing and contemporary methods of Indigenous opposition to settler nationhood and the settler-colonial processes of upholding that nationhood. Through activism and community sustainability, Indigenous Peoples successfully, albeit painfully and often with great sacrifice, constrain the process of absolute settlement in the four CANZUS nations—Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States—that initially rejected the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Despite historic and continuing expressions of colonial violence from these states, each has since partially accepted UNDRIP as an “aspirational document,” although they maintain that the document is irreconcilable with settler-national legal systems (Canada, Statement of Support).

Recent presidential tweets have been seen as racist. They are, but more than racist, they are one result of settler colonialism as a specific mode of domination. He said:

‘So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.

Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done’.

Note the ‘us’ at the end. He is imagining he is talking to settlers in a settler society. He probably is. If you are not indigenous and you are not a settler colonist, you are an exogenous ‘other’, always from somewhere else.

Abstract: In the second half of the nineteenth century, the two convict-built European settler colonial projects in Oceania, French New Caledonia and British Australia, were geographically close yet ideologically distant. Observers in the Australian colonies regularly characterized French colonization as backward, inhumane, and uncivilized, often pointing to the penal colony in New Caledonia as evidence. Conversely, French commentators, while acknowledging that Britain’s transportation of convicts to Australia had inspired their own penal colonial designs in the South Pacific, insisted that theirs was a significantly different venture, built on modern, carefully preconceived methods. Thus, both sides engaged in an active practice of denying comparability; a practice that historians, in neglecting the interconnections that existed between Australia and New Caledonia, have effectively perpetuated. This article draws attention to some of the strategies of spatial and temporal distance deployed by the Australian colonies in relation to the bagne in New Caledonia and examines the nation-building ends that these strategies served. It outlines the basic context and contours of the policy of convict transportation for the British and the French and analyses discursive attempts to emphasize the distinctions between Australia and New Caledonia. Particular focus is placed on the moral panic in Australian newspapers about the alleged dangerous proximity of New Caledonia to the east coast of Australia. I argue that this moral panic arose at a time when Britain’s colonies in Australia, in the process of being granted autonomy and not yet unified as a federated nation, sought recognition as reputable settlements of morally virtuous populations. The panic simultaneously emphasized the New Caledonian penal colony’s geographical closeness to and ideological distance from Australia, thereby enabling Australia’s own penal history to be safely quarantined in the past.

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