Settler colonial gendered violence: Jerry Flores Andrea Román Alfaro, ‘Building the Settler Colonial Order: Police (In)Actions in Response to Violence Against Indigenous Women in “Canada”‘, Gender & Society, 2023


Abstract: In this article we focus on missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people in “Canada.” We theorize narratives that police employ to respond to this violence. Using a broad data sample of testimonies across “Canada,” this article contributes to understanding how police (in)actions make sense of, justify, and dismiss violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. We draw from 48 in-depth semi-structured interviews with Indigenous peoples in Toronto and other “Canadian” cities and 219 testimonies from the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (NIMMIWG). The analysis finds that police repeatedly use similar frames (topics), styles (linguistic and behavioral strategies), and storylines (narratives) to respond to violence against Indigenous peoples. While framing Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people as deviants helps police make sense of and explain violence against them, the use of verbal and behavioral strategies (indifference, callousness, and lack of information) and storylines (“they were [insert pathologizing frame]” and “there’s nothing we can do”) allows police to dismiss and justify acts of violence. We argue that the frames, styles, and storylines employed by police perpetuate violence. Police (in)actions are fundamental to achieving settler colonialism’s ideological and material dimensions.

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