Indigenous territorial claims and settler governance: Mansharn Kaur Toor, Settler Modes of (Re)production: Indigenous Territorial Claims in Australia and Canada, MA Dissertation, University of Alberta, 2016


Abstract: This thesis is guided by an inquiry into the state responses to Australia’s Mabo v Queensland 1992 and Canada’s Calder v British Columbia 1973 rulings in the struggle for Indigenous rights to self-government. Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and Canada’s Nisga’a Nation serve as case studies for this thesis, to answer the research questions: What consequences came out of the Mabo and Calder cases for Indigenous territorial claims in Australia and Canada? And how does the settler state reterritorialize and limit Indigenous rights to self–government? Utilizing Henri Lefebvre’s concepts of homogenization and fragmentation, this thesis finds the settler state is continuously reinventing the structures of terra nullius (vacant lands) to preserve political and economic stability. Lefebvre introduces us to the concept of reterritorialization, as state mechanisms used to reconfiguration of social, political, and economic relationships to ensure Indigenous rights to self–government are limited. In the aftermath of the Mabo and Calder decisions, this thesis traces the settler state’s mechanisms to gain political and economic certainty by removing Indigenous rights to self–government. My findings reveal Australia’s ‘bundle of rights’ approach under the Native Title Act further limits Indigenous rights of self–government relative to Canada’s comprehensive land claims process.

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