On the settler colonial parallax: Maggie Perzyna, Harald Bauder, ‘Threats from within and threats from without: Wet’suwet’en protesters, irregular asylum seekers and on-going settler colonialism in Canada’, Settler Colonial Studies, 2022


Abstract: This paper addresses the ‘immigrant-Aboriginal parallax gap’ whereby material connections between immigration and Indigenous dispossession are rarely examined in tandem by considering ways in which the Canadian media frames Indigenous protesters and irregular asylum seekers. Building on the work of previous studies of Oka/Kanasatake, Ipperwash and Caledonia and irregular boat arrivals of Fujian and Tamil asylum seekers, it identifies similarities in the ways that each group has been racialized, criminalized, delegitimized and constructed as the ‘Other’. Employing the theoretical frameworks of settler colonialism and securitization theory, it examines whether the same frames persist in contemporary representations using the case studies of Wet’suwet’en protesters and irregular asylum seekers crossing the Canada–US border at Roxham Road, Québec. A comparative discourse analysis finds that the media continues to frame Indigenous protesters and irregular asylum seekers as threats to the ‘rule of law’ and the ‘common good’. These framings discredit and delegitimize human rights claims that challenge the legitimacy of settler colonial borders – including the right to peaceful protest and to claim asylum – turning them into threats to Canada’s sovereignty, thus necessitating state action. We conclude that this discourse has the effect of reproducing the racialized injustices and inequalities of ongoing settler colonialism.

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