crosby and monaghan on the governance of canadian indigenous groups and the logic of elimination


Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan, ‘Settler governmentality in Canada and the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’, Security Dialogue 43, 5 (2012)

In September 2009, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared to the global media that Canada had ‘no history of colonialism’. Such expressions of the post-colonial Canadian imaginary are common, despite Canada’s dubious legacy of settler colonialism. This article uses Canada’s Access to Information Act to examine how mechanisms of security are mobilized against members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL), whose persistent calls for sovereign control of their land and customary governance system have been translated by Canadian authorities into a security threat to settler society. Contributing to the literature on postcolonialism, as well as works on critical security studies and colonial governmentality, this article suggests that distinct rationalities underline colonial activities in settler states. The authors contend that the term ‘settler governmentality’ is more appropriate for settler states such as Canada, and they present the case study of the ABL to argue that (in)security governance of indigenous groups in Canada incorporates techniques that are necessarily grounded in a logic of elimination. The authors detail how an analysis of the interventions in the traditional governance of the ABL contributes to understanding recent security trends regarding ‘Aboriginal extremism’ and indigenous ‘hot spot’ areas in Canada, which are often framed as matters of ‘national security’.

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