miranda johnson on reconciliation, indigeneity and postcolonial nationhood in settler states


Miranda Johnson, ‘Reconciliation, indigeneity, and postcolonial nationhood in settler states’, Postcolonial Studies 14, 2 (2011).

In the Commonwealth settler states of Australia, New Zealand and Canada in the last two decades, ‘reconciliation’ has become a key term for expressing a new relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous (primarily white settler) peoples. The term is usually associated with post-conflict societies and its use in the settler states is meant to acknowledge the historical injustices that indigenous people suffered in the colonial past. In this article, I examine how reconciliation evokes a kind of postcolonial nationhood in settler states in a post-imperial era. This is a peculiar form of postcoloniality since it does not mean the realization of political independence for indigenous people. It does, however, mean the reframing of settler states in more local terms. In fact, I suggest that the ways in which justice has been provided to indigenous people have invested their indigeneity with a high cultural value that non-indigenous people in these countries also want, in order to localize their expressions of postcolonial nationhood.

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