jean dennison on settler colonialism in c21 arizona and oklahoma


Jean Dennison, ‘Whitewashing Indigenous Oklahoma and Chicano Arizona: 21st-Century Legal Mechanisms of Settlement’, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 37, 1 (2014).

This article interrogates the various tactics settler colonial legal systems use in establishing and entrenching authority over territories. By comparing a recent Osage Nation reservation court case with Arizona House Bill (HB) 2281, enacted into law as Ariz. Rev. Stats. § 15–112, which has been used to ban Mexican American/Raza Studies (MARS) from the classroom, it is possible to illustrate the varied processes by which legal systems attempt to render U.S. control of land an indisputable norm. In the context of both Oklahoma and Arizona, settler authority over territory is entrenched through the outlawing of institutions that contest its neutrality and universality. This article challenges U.S. settlement by making visible some of the legal processes by which it operates.

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