dawn hoogeveen on sub-surface property rights and canadian settler colonialism


Dawn Hoogeveen, ‘Sub-surface Property, Free-entry Mineral Staking and Settler Colonialism in Canada’, Antipode (early view, 2014).

This article examines mineral rights and claim staking in northern Canada, with a focus on settler colonialism and how liberal understandings of property are embedded in the legal geography of the right to explore for minerals. The history of these legal systems is explained through the “free-entry” principle understood as the right to stake a mineral claim without consulting with private landholders or Indigenous peoples. Free-entry debate highlights how ideologies of property are assumed neutral through staking regulations. Based on an analysis of interviews with key informants involved in mining regulation, I analyze the geographic stratification of land into two categories, above and below the surface, as an avenue to understand how dominant ideologies of property reveal a critical site of contestation.

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