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The contemporary reality of Canadian imperialism: settler colonialism and the hybrid colonial state.


My fundamental contention is this: Canadian society remains driven by the logic of imperialism and engages in concerted colonial action against Indigenous peoples whose claims to land and self-determination continue to undermine the legitimacy of Canadian authority and hegemony. While concepts such as colonialism or imperialism tend to conjure up dated images and notions of pre-twentieth-century European adventurism, the imperial reality of contemporary Canada is quite different. In order to understand how colonialism as an ideology that generates power for imperial elites is expressed in Canada, it is necessary to understand two key points: first, the nature of contemporary imperialism and the role Canada plays in an imperial system that extends geographically beyond borders and internally into individual lives; second, the nature of Canadian society as a Settler society and the channels that are created for colonial force through the Settler identity of the majority population of the Canadian state. I assert that colonialism as it is carried out internally in the Canadian state follows some aspects of established frameworks of contemporary imperialism but that understanding the unique identity of Settler peoples and assessing the power dynamics in the Canadian state are required for an accurate and useful model of Canadian colonialism. These two concepts allow for a discussion of the Canadian "society of control" which pits Settler and Indigenous peoples against each other and Indigenous societies against themselves and benefits government and corporate elites at the expense of individual and collective autonomy.

Of critical importance is the role of the Canadian Settler population in Canada's contemporary colonialism. As Albert Memmi notes in his analysis of colonialism in the African context, all of those who come to a colony intending to benefit from the spoils of colonial domination are colonials, implying not just a geographical or political situation but a particular set of ethics, motivations, fears, and desires and a pervasive colonial mentality:
   It is impossible for [the colonizer] not to be aware of the
   constant illegitimacy of his status.... A foreigner, having come to
   a land by the accidents of history, he has succeeded not merely in
   creating a place for himself but also in taking away that of the
   inhabitant, granting himself astounding privileges to the detriment
   of those rightfully entitled to them.... He is a privileged being
   and an illegitimately privileged one; that is, a usurper.
   Furthermore, this is so, not only in the eyes of the colonized, but
   in his own as well. (1)

Frantz Fanon, too, made a study of the psychology of the colonizer and how that psychology is replicated. (2) While the work of Fanon and Memmi speaks specifically to the colonization of Africa, Canada as a colonial state can and should be examined through similar critical lenses.


Collectively, the efforts to expand imperial power will be summed up in this inquiry under the banner of colonialism; contemporary colonialism does not necessarily involve the establishment of physical colonies, forced military suppression of peoples, slave labor, and other classic characteristics of colonialism, though these elements persist. In the present the efforts of colonialism are usually directed at winning over the hearts and minds of peoples who have previously been geographically enveloped by imperial forces. James Tully notes that imperial powers constantly change forms, experiment with different expressions, conglomerate or divide, and probe Indigenous resistance for signs of weaknesses that can be exploited. (3) As Indigenous peoples have proven resistant to being physically or legislatively extinguished, in order to secure the territory of Canada for further imperial imposition Indigenous peoples are now assaulted on social, cultural, and intellectual levels. In Canada's case Indigenous peoples have already experienced the direct physical aspects of colonization, even if only in the sense that they have been disempowered within a state, which relies upon the monopolization of territory and force for legitimacy. They have also experienced mental and emotional colonization in residential schools, government programs such as enfranchisement, and the false images portrayed by educational systems and mass media and embedded in racist attitudes of Settler peoples. As Kanienkehaka scholar Taiaiake Alfred notes, Canada is engaged in continued colonization of Indigenous peoples through the creation and promotion of the "aboriginal" a cooperative comprador class. This circumvents the dichotomy asserted by both Memmi and Fanon: the colonial needs the "native" in order to remain privileged. (4) As Alfred points out:
   Aboriginalism, with its roots in this dichotomizing essentialism,
   plays the perfect foil to the Euroamerican mentality. Settlers can
   remain who and what they are, and injustice can be reconciled by
   the mere allowance of the Other to become one of Us. What higher
   reward or better future is there than to be finally recognized as
   achieving the status of a European? (5)

By not attempting the physical or political extermination of Indigenous peoples but instead forcing them into the role of the "aboriginal," colonization achieves the end goal of establishing a stable social order based on a stratification analogous to that presented in George Orwell's Animal Farm: all are equal, but some are more equal than others. This ensures that elites will always have someone to exploit to increase their power and that the structures of contemporary empire continue to function in their intended manner as they are filled by people who know their "station." Memmi refers to this as the "pyramid of petty tyrants": oppressed people who allow themselves to be oppressed and even cooperate with their oppressors in exchange for the option to oppress others and thus create some level of privilege for themselves. (6) An alternative Indigenous identity to that of the aboriginal requires a commitment to engage in conflicts with colonialism and exchange limited privileges within the colonial system for the hope of true freedom without it. The most nuanced definition of "Indigenous" with respect to contemporary power dynamics is provided by Alfred and Tsalagi scholar Jeff Corntassel in "Being Indigenous":
   Indigenousness is an identity constructed, shaped and lived in the
   politicized context of contemporary colonialism. The communities,
   clans, nations and tribes we call Indigenous peoples are just that:
   Indigenous to the lands they inhabit, in contrast to and in
   contention with the colonial societies and states that have spread
   out from Europe and other centres of empire. It is this
   oppositional, place-based existence, along with the consciousness
   of being in struggle against the dispossessing and demeaning facts
   of colonization by foreign peoples, that fundamentally
   distinguishes Indigenous peoples from other peoples of the world.

As "Indigenousness" is defined as being partly the product of active contention, the specific meaning itself must also be in contention. Alfred and Corntassel do convincingly argue for a particular meaning in the remainder of the article, but what is important is that Indigenous peoples in the context of Turtle Island (North America) are those peoples whose societies predated colonization, who exist in a complex relationship to the land, and who have been and continue to be primary targets of active colonialism.

The inverse term that requires definition, then, is "Settler." It is not enough to simply state that Settler people are "non-Indigenous," as is often done; this ignores the complexity of Settler society and culture itself and normalizes non-Indigenous society, preventing much useful analysis. Settler people in this context include most peoples who occupy lands previously stolen or in the process of being taken from their Indigenous inhabitants or who are otherwise members of the "Settler society," which is founded on co-opted lands and resources. While this definition is far from comprehensive, it draws a distinction between Indigenous inhabitants of the general continental area (a Blackfoot in Haida territory can still be considered "Indigenous") and those whose heritage originates elsewhere (often people of European descent, but in the contemporary sense Settler increasingly includes peoples from around the globe who intentionally come to live in occupied Indigenous territories to seek enhanced privileges). As noted, this definition is not comprehensive; it does not attempt to describe anything about Indigenous peoples, nor does it address complicated hybrid identities that exist in most Settler states. This is partly intentional: it is not appropriate for me, a Settler Canadian concerned with the complexities of Settler Canadian participation in colonial systems, to attempt my own definition of Indigenous identities. Attempts to integrate discussions of hybrid identities (such as the descendants of African peoples brought to the Americas against their will, many refugees, or Settler Muslims who are increasingly targeted by the state and other racist Settlers) with Settler and Indigenous identities are complicated and beyond the scope of this inquiry.

Like Memmi, I do not distinguish between Settlers born in Settler states and immigrants who intentionally come to occupy Indigenous territories. (8) In both scenarios an individual benefits from imperial oppression of the original inhabitants of a territory--"colonizers, forced to exploit in order to enjoy the fruits of colonialism." It is this situation of privilege that defines and contributes to the motivation of Settler peoples. (9) Applying the Settler label does not imply a moral or ethical judgment; rather, it is a descriptive term that recognizes the historical and contemporary realities of imperialism that very clearly separate the lives of Indigenous peoples from the lives of later-comers, which is important to consider with regard to Settler peoples whose families have longstanding relationships with specific lands. In the documentary In the Light of Reverence American ranchers whose lands overlap sacred lands of the Lakota people state that their families have been living on the same lands for long enough that they should be considered "native." (10) However, following the logic used in the earlier definition of "Settler" it can be reiterated that this very history is only possible because it is built upon theft, oppression, and an imbalance of power. In the case of the Lakota, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was supposed to define the Lakota and the United States of America as separate nations and guarantee a vast territory as exclusively Lakota jurisdiction. Yet in 1873 "the U.S. government committed its first sanctioned violation of the 1868 treaty with the Lakota Nation by stationing federal army troops inside Lakota treaty lands." (11)

Similar situations exist in Canada, evident in historical geographer Cole Harris's nostalgic reminiscence of his family ranch in the interior of British Columbia in The Resettlement of British Columbia. (12) Harris attempts to tie himself and, by extension, other Settler people to lands within Canada by ignoring that the tie between Settler and land, especially in British Columbia, remains mediated by a history of oppression that attempts to interrupt the "operational relationship" between Indigenous peoples and lands noted. Again, Alfred and Corntassel's definition of Indigenous peoples as being in contention with colonialism is brought to the fore: Settler people may attempt to ignore this contention and in fact have the privilege of doing so by virtue of their relative position in the Canadian hierarchy, yet Indigenous peoples cannot, revealing the colonial underpinnings of Settler Canadian society. This has created for Settler people what Anthony Hall refers to as a "crisis of legitimacy." (13) Further, it is important to recognize that military conflict is not always required for land to be taken unjustly. Especially in the Canadian context, legislation and economic monopolies have often been the preferred modes of bringing large tracts of land under imperial "ownership." The vast majority of the Canadian Northwest came under British control through the royal presumption of Charles II, who deeded the entire area to his cousin Rupert in the late 1600s. Rupert was given, "at the stroke of Charles' quill, sole possession of a land mass larger than all of Europe." (14) This method of land appropriation, repeated years later during Canadian confederation and obvious in the British Columbia interior, which became part of Canada through no known legal mechanism, is no less a violent colonial act than the American violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty. Canadian Settler people have no special claim to moral or ethical superiority with regard to the land upon which they live.


Defining Settler and Indigenous peoples gives a glimpse of the relationship that these broad groups have with each other as well as with the broad powers that have so far been referred to as "elites" or "the state." However, the dynamic of how power is brought to bear in order to influence both Indigenous and Settler peoples is complex. The dynamic described by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their book Empire is the most recent and in-depth attempt to model contemporary imperialism. While this model may constitute an accurate representation of global exchanges of power, the use and implications of ongoing colonization within Canada and other Settler states are far different from those described by the "Empire" model. Beginning with a sketch of the model, it is possible to strip away the inaccurate claims of the "Empire" model and achieve an accurate picture of the internal colonial dynamics of Canada. (15)

Hardt and Negri describe contemporary empire as the overlapping and interconnected spheres of influence around states, supranational organizations, and corporations, especially those corporations classified as multinational. Using technological advances, which, according to Jerry Mander, have some applicability to the average person but mostly serve to manage the assets of the disproportionately powerful, these organizations are able to exert tremendous influence over billions of lives with very real and extreme impacts upon the natural environment on a global scale. (16) While much has been made of the "decline" in sovereign power of the state, in Hardt and Negri's model of empire state sovereign power has not dissipated but rather transcended reliance upon territorial constraint and bureaucratic mechanisms of the state. (17) As such, states, along with supranational bodies and transnational corporations, are united under a single "logic of rule." This empire is decentered and deterritorializing, and because of the lack of meaningful borders imperial rule essentially has no limits. (18) Just as this empire exists without borders, it also exists without historical context; it "suspends history" portrayed as the natural order, equally applicable anywhere on the globe, implying an "end of history" wherein a natural homogeneous order overcomes chaotic difference and is established for eternity. (19) Opposition is difficult to rally given that the publicly stated goal of contemporary empire is the creation of perpetual peace, justifying the use of force to create and defend this peace. The "Empire presents its order as permanent, eternal, and necessary" and revives the concept of the "just war" as a means of ensuring that permanence and perpetual peace. (20) The result is a system that sees the centralized creation of norms given wide audience through a far-reaching production of legitimacy. It has been called "governance without governments" and betrays a structural logic that is not always perceptible but is increasingly effective in shaping society. (21) Under this logic, equilibrium and the cessation of conflict are the values toward which everything is directed, and because these are impossible to create in permanence there is a constant call for more authority to ensure peace, resulting in "a machine that creates a continuous call for authority." (22) Hardt and Negri assert, "Every movement is fixed and can seek its own designated place only within the system itself, in the hierarchical relationship accorded to it," creating a right to intervene in the social life of citizens under the guise of protecting them. (23)

When we consider the increasingly rigid and homogeneous global order, alongside the demand for participation in the system, and the recourse to "just war" (on both literal and figurative levels) against those who refuse to participate or conform, it is easy to follow Hardt and Negri's analysis that, globally, societies are progressing from a "disciplinary society" (as described by Foucault) to a "society of control." This society of control ultimately rests upon the premise that nothing is exempt from imperial dictates; society and culture, media, travel, and even thought are policed and controlled in order to defend the "perpetual peace and order" of the empire. Hardt and Negri reexamine traditional conceptions of imperial intervention, which have revolved around the monopolization of the use of force by state authorities, stating that "Empire's powers of intervention might be best understood as beginning not directly with its weapons of lethal force, but rather with its moral instruments." (24) Using diverse methods of pressure and coercion, contemporary empire intervenes in social life by simply defining the undesirable as morally "bad" and the desirable as morally "good" primarily through NGOs, particularly rights-based organizations. These organizations are established with the goal of identifying and assuring "universal" rights and needs, creating a narrow range of possible social expressions. This view is corroborated by Corntassel, who discusses the "Free Tibet Syndrome" among activists whose energies are channeled into accepted means of protest or expression and away from activities in their own territories that generate more fundamental challenges to established order. (25) Ultimately, contemporary empire aims to control every level of human life and organization. In short:
   The imperial order is formed not only on the basis of its powers of
   accumulation and global extension but also on the basis of its
   capacity to develop itself more deeply to be reborn, and to extend
   itself throughout the biopolitical lattice work of world society.

No longer does imperialism as a concept implicate a group of geographically restricted empires in competition to impose their own model of order but rather a network of adherents to one type of order competing for status and control within a singular framework. Of course, contemporary imperial power can only achieve this level of dominance over a population if it becomes integral to life; imperial power must either be consented to or become necessary to the maintenance of what people perceive as reality. In the context of the Canadian state this is as yet uncertain.

While useful, Hardt and Negri's model does not perfectly describe the internal context of Canada or most other Settler states. The model makes the critical, and erroneous, assumption that old imperial projects, such as the colonization of the Canadian state, have reached a conclusion or simply been rendered irrelevant by the emergence of a global imperial order. Neither assumption is true. While the Canadian state participates in global imperialism, the state is limited by the incompletion of its own internal colonial projects; the resistance of Indigenous peoples and nations has prevented Canada from breaking free of contests for territory and social construction. First and foremost, we must clarify the relationship between this new imperial order and previous imperial regimes such as those that contributed to the founding of the Canadian state. Hardt and Negri are insistent that the new imperial order is something completely different from previous formations of imperialism and should not be regarded as simply a "perfecting" or extension of classical imperialism. (27) However, while contemporary empire appears to have broken from the "conflict or competition among several imperialist powers" to be replaced by "the idea of a single power that overdetermines them all" this shift in structure most largely affects those who are members of a society or group that traditionally has acted in colonial fashion, altering the landscape of privilege in the midlevels of imperial hierarchy. (28) As an example, consider Alfred's interrogation of Settler peoples who formerly held high levels of privilege but have experienced a drop in economic advantage in conjunction with the shift to contemporary imperialism: fisherman, factory laborers, and others who are "nothing but staunch defenders of the first wave of globalization against the second wave." (29) For Indigenous peoples living in the Canadian state, conglomerate transnational forces colonizing Indigenous lives and territories remain foreign empires, regardless of whether the power that is exerted comes from a single state source or combined state, corporate, and multinational sources. Colonialism remains the extension of imperial power beyond the borders of the empire; if those borders have now become partially conceptual instead of largely or exclusively physical, it represents only an attempt to colonize a different part of Indigenous reality. Imperialism has changed radically in form, and I would argue that this is partially due to the inability of classical imperialism to completely subdue or control Indigenous populations globally, producing what Alfred and Corntassel refer to as "shapeshifting colonialism" which is reactive and adaptable and more concerned with an ideology of control than creating specific structures. (30) As mentioned previously, Tully has outlined how and why imperial forces constantly change their forms. In the Canadian context the implication is that the Canadian state can simultaneously remain colonial through creative adaptation and also be portrayed as "postcolonial" due to a lack of resemblance with earlier imperial and colonial forms. However, for Indigenous peoples in Canada, imperial domination is imperial domination.

Second, there are often attempts made to draw a separation between physical and economic imperialism; for the purposes of this inquiry, I reject that distinction. Hardt and Negri also reject this distinction to a point but downplay both the inherent violence and divisiveness of economic coercion and the possibility for renewed violence in Settler states like Canada. Many critics demonstrate that the act and intent of physical imperialism are inseparable from its economic motivations and benefits. (31) In this context economics are nothing more than a key to a different form of power. According to Hardt and Negri, the contemporary empire now has the ability to reach almost everywhere, and as such the economic imperialism that was once notable for following periods of physical imperial expansion is now normalized and viewed as standard economic practice by the mainstream West and other global players in the imperial game. This economic coercion remains a divisive--and inherently oppressive--tool of colonization in Canada. Consider the latest development in the British Columbia Treaty Process (BCTP), the "incremental treaty agreement" reached between the provincial government and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. (32) The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation withdrew from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC) treaty group in order to pursue its own treaty, mirroring the move by the five Maanulth First Nations, which also broke with the NTC to strike their own deal in 2001 (ratified in 2008). This speaks to clear divide-and-conquer tactics on the part of the provincial negotiators. On the surface the incremental agreement is an injection of badly needed cash and the promise to participate in several capacity development projects with respect to some forest sites that will be transferred to Tla-o-qui-aht authority (though not ownership). However, the First Nation is now beholden to the government in both an immediate and a long-term sense: the loans made for participation in the process remain outstanding, and all development projects are partnership projects. Further, it is expected that any agreed-upon treaty will include elements common to other previously agreed-upon treaties, such as the elimination of tax exemption, the prioritization of commercial development, and the continuation of state authority to appropriate land. (33) The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has become a de facto contractor, doing business with the state on the state's terms and utilizing the standard logic of economic development, which has concentrated power into the hands of government and corporate elites around the world through the efforts of the IMF and World Bank. (34) This agreement was heralded on the front page of the Victoria Times-Colonist daily newspaper as an "unprecedented" agreement, yet the result is a familiar silencing of dissent internally in the Indigenous community and the furtherance of broad, slow assimilation into the method by which the state does its business. (35)

In contrast, the obvious physical imperialism that is evident in examples such as the American-led invasion of Iraq and the brutal Russian repression of dissidents in Chechnya is highly visible, hotly debated, and widely condemned. What many commentators fail to realize is that these actions are not more widespread because in many areas this phase of imperial expansion is already complete or has reached a stage in the complex dynamic of colonization and resistance where the violence of imperial expansion happens "off-stage." This is the situation in Canada, where repeated violence by police, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), and even the military against Indigenous peoples goes largely unnoticed, domestically and internationally, but it remains true that "white society, through the agencies of the state, will use violence in the attempt to suppress any serious threat to the colonial order." (36) The summary arrest of Indigenous activists under antiterrorism legislation on the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver in 2005 and the subsequent cover-up of the situation is one example. (37) The threat of violent arrests made by Ontario Provincial Police Chief Julian Fantino to Kanienkehaka activist Shawn Brant is another. (38) Clearly, while economic coercion has become the preferred option, it is used hand in hand with violent repression.

Another area where Hardt and Negri's theory is not particularly well tailored to the Canadian context is in the discussion of land and territory. In their theory the empire is completely deterritorialized, which is to say that it exists everywhere, simultaneously, and with equal power. However, this does a great disservice to Indigenous peoples who have long been and are currently engaged in conflicts centered around specific territories. Richard Day, writing from within the Canadian context, asserts that, with all due respect to Hardt and Negri's analyses, there are still "centers" of colonial power, and the fact that these centers have become pluralistic and now span government and private powers does not alter either their effects upon Indigenous resisters or the small number of elites that benefit from colonial action. (39) A primary example is found in the prevalence of land disputes between Settler and Indigenous peoples, usually involving both government and corporate interests. Considering that Indigenous societies are culturally, spiritually, and historically tied to their lands and to specific important sites, if Indigenous peoples are to resist the homogenizing moral colonization of empire, they must inherently defend their differential relationships to land. (40)

Conflicts over land in the Canadian context are extensive and continual, and sites of Indigenous land resistance also mark places where imperial power is far from absolute: holes in the imperial sphere, both physical (distinct borders can be found in the lines of resistance between Indigenous protesters, warriors and allies, and the Canadian military and paramilitary) and conceptual (as demonstrated by the many individuals possessed of a sufficiently nonimperial mentality to resist the imperial society of control). Conversely, the Canadian economic system remains greatly reliant upon the land and resources that rightly belong to Indigenous peoples; Canada has not transitioned fully into an economic system based on communications, services, and other processes that assist the creation of biopower and agentic subjectives as described by Hardt and Negri. In this sense Canada remains a hybrid: a cross between old imperial conquest of land and resources and new imperial conquest of social reality. Tully differentiates between the "internal colonialism" that is expressed in the Canadian or American context, wherein colonization occurs within the boundaries claimed by a state, and "external colonization" the more familiar extension of classical imperial power beyond imperial borders:
   The essence of internal colonization ... is not the appropriation
   of labour (as in slavery), for this has been peripheral, of
   depopulation (genocide), for indigenous populations have increased
   threefold in this century, or even the appropriation of
   self-government (usurpation), for at different times indigenous
   peoples have been permitted to govern themselves within the
   colonial systems (as in the early treaty system and perhaps again
   today). Rather the ground of the relation is the appropriation of
   the land, resources and jurisdiction of the indigenous peoples, not
   only for the sake of resettlement and exploitation (which is also
   true in external colonisation), but for the territorial foundation
   of the dominant society itself. (41)

The implication for this particular inquiry is quite clear. First, Hardt and Negri's assertion that locally based resistance to imperialism is a fatally flawed technique does not hold for Indigenous struggles. (42) For some Indigenous communities, especially those that remain largely isolated and retain access to many traditional resources, local resistance to imperialism is not only viable but in fact far more practical than attempting to network with distant and inaccessible groups. An example of this is the Grassy Narrows conflict, wherein the Anishinaabe people of Grassy Narrows have used the Internet to educate and communicate but remain committed to a blockade in their local territory as the primary form of resistance. This blockade has proven to be surprisingly effective and long-lived, having endured since 2002, and the relationship of the people involved in the conflict to the specific site of resistance is probably a major component in this. (43) Though Hardt and Negri are likely correct that a solely local approach cannot hope to defeat contemporary imperialism, in the Canadian context local or place-based resistance should not be entirely abandoned as a strategy, nor should the importance of land to imperial interests be ignored in an investigation into the motivations of colonial actors within Canadian Settler society. Second, because of the hybrid nature of the Canadian state, existing somewhere between classical imperialism and Hardt and Negri's ideal, critiques of classical colonialism such as those provided by Fanon, Memmi, and others are likely to be applicable to the Canadian context in many cases. Finally, there is an even greater need to study and engage with imperialism in Canada, both because observing the dynamic of imperialism and colonialism in transition promises to be very valuable and informative and because, as the Canadian state is clearly a site of imperial weakness (or at least nonuniformity), this context can potentially be exploited by anti-imperial resistance. Again citing Tully's work, colonization in the Canadian context "is seen by both sides as a temporary means to an end. It is the irresolution, so to speak, of the relation: a matrix of power put in place and continuously provoked by and adjusted in response to the acts of resistance of indigenous peoples." (44) So long as Indigenous lands remain contested, the work of creating an ideologically homogenized empire is hindered by the ties that bind peoples from different societies and cultures to lands and histories that defy imperial redefinition.

Finally, it is disingenuous to claim, as Hardt and Negri do, that imperialism is only now attempting to unite different people under a common moral code in order to exact further control. As ethnohistorian James Axtell writes, early Settlers were often defeated in their colonial desires by their inability to "predict" the behavior of Indigenous peoples and needed a way to "neutralize" them in order to engage in further imperial expansion. (45) This was a primary function of the missionary project: the attempt to link Indigenous peoples under a common morality. Christianity served, in that time period, a similar role to moral or ethical civil codes and standards in the contemporary period in that they created a conduit for imperial control of Indigenous societies at the most basic levels of social consciousness:
   As if heaven-sent, a small but determined cadre of invaders offered
   the ultimate answer to the settlers' prayers. Christian
   missionaries, who had come to America in the earliest phases of
   invasion, espoused a set of spiritual goals which colored but
   ultimately lent themselves to the more material ends of their
   countrymen. From the birth of European interest in the New World,
   religious men had ensured that the public goals of exploration and
   colonization included a prominent place for the conversion of the
   natives to Christianity. But the Christianity envisioned was not a
   disembodied spiritual construct but a distinct cultural product of
   Western Europe. Conversion was tantamount to complete
   transformation of cultural identity. (46)

Further, this practice was not restricted solely to missionaries; political agents also understood the importance of attempting to incorporate Indigenous peoples into a common moral framework. For example, Champlain demanded that the Hurons convert to Christianity if they wished to continue trading with the French, a move that ultimately contributed significantly to the near-destruction of the Huron confederacy. (47) Hardt and Negri are correct to note that the juridical formation of contemporary imperialism is different from that of classical imperialism in that it now seeks to include all religions or spiritual codes within its scope and relies upon overriding international laws instead of scripture. But this is simply a widening of the net; cooptation into internationalism in the present is an updated form of conversion to Christianity. Just as traditional Indigenous spiritualities stood in opposition to Christian homogenization, so do traditional Indigenous ways of being and knowing stand in opposition to contemporary imperial homogenization.


It is important, then, to keep Hardt and Negri's model in mind but also to pay particular attention to these areas where Canada--and other Settler states--do not nearly fit the model. It is also vital to understand the role that individual Settler people play in this modified framework, because public consent and active participation are required for many aspects of this ongoing colonization. A Settler person is not necessarily a colonial: the term "Settler" is a statement of situation, whereas a "colonial" is one who actively participates with empire and spreads the imperial sphere of influence. Settlers can and do act in noncolonial ways; consider the historical relationship between British Settlers and Haudenosaunee peoples at Johnson Hall, which Anthony Hall refers to as "one of the main shrines of both the Covenant Chain [symbolizing the alliance between British and Haudenosaunee peoples] and British North America before the American revolt against British authority." (48) Hall demonstrates that this relationship was not accidental but was actually the conscious marriage of British political ambition and Haudenosaunee political will and cultural practice mediated by a Settler who was willing to be creative and flexible:
   In my estimation, the lord of Johnson Hall personified many of the
   attributes that enabled the British Empire to expand so widely,
   often through flexible and ingenious adaptations to pluralistic
   cultures of the many Indigenous peoples. The diplomatic institution
   of the Covenant Chain, a complex of elaborate treaty protocols that
   connected the Six Nations Iroquois with the governors of New York
   colony, is a perfect example of the kind of transcultural invention
   through which the British Empire extended its web of influence
   around the planet. (49)

Hall's analysis demonstrates that, historically, it has been possible for Settlers and Indigenous peoples to engage in relationships that meet the needs of both parties. However, the vast majority of Settlers are colonial in their actions, which is what makes examples like Hall's important: they are rare glimpses at what could be. It is clear, though, that through the actions of individual, noncolonial Settlers, "what could be" becomes reality. Consider that Hall attributes a critical importance to the relationship between Lord Johnson and the Haudenosaunee that was developed prior to the founding of the Covenant Chain agreement. He notes that Johnson had a "reputation for dealing fairly," ordered his militia to assist the confederacy in conflicts, and showed great respect for the women of Haudenosaunee society. (50) These respectful relationships, which require the willingness of Settler people to relent in their hegemonic pursuit of Western norms, are very rare and clearly have not often preceded treaties or other political agreements between Settlers and Indigenous peoples; while Settlers are not predestined to be colonial in their actions, with rare exceptions like Johnson, they usually are. I do not intend to ignore the fact that Lord Johnson was clearly an imperial agent and loyal subject of the British Crown who helped to spread imperialism or to ignore Hardt and Negri's warning and become "wistful" for earlier forms of imperialism. However, it is clear is that Johnson broke with the colonial practices of many of his contemporaries and attempted to forge a different relationship with the confederacy, the short-term result of which is very important to note. The long-term result must remain speculative; the American Revolution cut short this early relationship.

The terms "Western" and "Western society" are often employed in discussions of Settler peoples, including Canadians; this should not be misconstrued to assume that imperialism is a solely Western pursuit or that all Western culture is concerned with imperialism. (51) Rather, it is in recognition of the incredible amount of influence that Western imperialism has had on contemporary global realities and the obvious connections between political imperialism and other aspects of Western society. Considering the indictment of Western society and traditions that comes along with an attempt to identify and study Settler peoples and society, it is fair (and common) to ask what the locus of Settler colonialism is. Are Settler people bound to colonial behaviors by cultural imperatives? I would argue that this is a simplistic and ultimately unworkable suggestion. Western culture in the broadest sense has seen many empires rise and fall over the course of the several millennia in which it can be said to have existed. However, during that same time period there have also been many philosophies and movements of liberation and freedom that have had various levels of impact and success. The true question is, Why do Settler Canadians usually choose interpretations of philosophy that justify oppression and visions of society founded upon the results of oppression? There remains in Western culture a choice between imperialism and emancipation, and that means that imperialism and colonialism are social states, not cultural tenets or imperatives. As Alfred puts it:
   As a clash of "cultures," "civilizations," etc., this problem could
   be discussed in more objective theoretical terms to avoid the
   discomfort of personal responsibility, but in reality, the
   injustices we live with are a matter of choices and behaviours
   committed within a worldview defined by a mental framework of
   Euroamerican arrogance and self-justifying political ideologies set
   in opposition to Onkwehonwe [this term is the Kanienkehaka
   equivalent to "Indigenous," meaning roughly "original or authentic
   peoples"] peoples and our worldviews. The basic substance of the
   problem of colonialism is the belief in the superiority and
   universality of Euroamerican culture. (52)

It should be kept firmly in mind that while attempting to understand the Settler Canadian "mental framework of Euroamerican arrogance" it is vital that we do not attempt to assert that there is an inflexible core of Western or Settler culture that cannot be challenged. Settler Canadians may be colonial at present, but they can and do choose to be otherwise, and the powers--often invisible--that influence their decisions must also be taken into account.

As demonstrated, Canada as a state does not fit neatly into Hardt and Negri's model, meaning that while the society of control that they envision does exist in Canada, it has a unique character that must be analyzed. The two key components in this analysis are, first, that the foundations of imperialism are rooted in a prescribed order and, second, that it is the consent of society at large that calls the empire into existence and allows it to continue. The combination creates a widespread methodology of control in which both imperial elites and colonial individuals are complicit, one through the intent of creating an overarching order and the other through the consent that allows it to happen.

There are many obvious examples of this dynamic creation of control in action, especially in Canada. Throughout history and very prominently at present, we can see efforts being made to control the activities and movements of people, the moral definitions of right and wrong, and even how and what people can think and feel. (53) This is an interpretation of the society of control as an overriding methodology, wherein every challenge is met with increasing levels of control to the point that control becomes preemptive. Conflicts between Indigenous peoples and the Settler state alone could comprise an extensive list. Consider that at Lubicon Lake in 1988, Oka in 1990, Ipperwash in 1991, Caledonia in the spring of 2006, and many other instances where Indigenous peoples have resorted to "inconveniencing" mainstream Canada in an attempt to protect land and life, instead of dealing with the problems politically, which might involve sharing power with Indigenous peoples, the reaction from both state authorities and Settler people has been to treat the situation as a law-and-order problem, resulting in arrests and state-sanctioned violence. (54) Settler people often can conceive of resolving these problems only through increased levels of control that protect and even expand current power bases.

In contrast, Blackfoot scholar Leroy Little Bear differentiates Indigenous and Settler worldviews by noting that Indigenous peoples view the world as one of constant flux comprised of energy waves. (55) He notes that Indigenous cultures center around rituals of renewal in order to ensure that the vast patterns of the world continue to emerge. In this way Indigenous peoples actually participate with the overarching condition of the universe and play a role in it without directing it. This is anathema to much of Western philosophy, which starts with the acceptance that humans have a priori dominion over the Earth and that the natural world is something to be tamed and controlled; in essence, the spreading of control is both a right and a duty. Day illuminates this difference with the dichotomy of controlled civilization versus the "war machine":
   The war machine is that which is exterior to the state apparatus,
   that which has not been captured and resists capture. Here the
   metaphor of roving bands or packs is deployed, reminding us of the
   way in which the nomad appears in an archetypical nightmare of
   European civilization--galloping in off the steppes, sweeping away
   everything that matters: houses, walls, fields, institutions,
   lives. (56)

This need for control to reinforce imperial power bases is so pervasive that Day has labeled it "the hegemony of hegemony"; he demonstrates that within the last two centuries both established orders and challenges to these established orders (democratic capitalism, on the one hand, and various forms of socialism, on the other) have relied upon competing forms of hegemonic control. (57) Even with the best of intentions, the creation and reinforcement of control ultimately have tended to take precedence over all other concerns. To quote Day further:
   Both liberalism and postmarxism, then, share a reliance upon a
   politics of demand, a politics oriented to improving existing
   institutions and everyday experiences by appealing to the
   benevolence of hegemonic forces and/or by altering the relations
   between these forces. But, as recent history has shown, these
   alterations never quite produce the kinds of "emancipation effects"
   their proponents expect. The gains that are made (for some) only
   appear as such within the logic of the existing order, and often
   come at a high cost for others. (58)

The question of what Canadian society would look like should hegemonic control be relinquished is rarely, if ever, engaged with in mainstream Settler discourses; the assumption is simply that without control and enforced order Canadian society cannot exist. This means that Indigenous peoples are forced to continually question the motivations both of the established order and of Settler groups or individuals who claim to oppose the order. For example, the participation of environmental groups in the logging conflict in Clayquot (Tla-o-qui-aht) Sound in the 1990s saw environmental activists initially ally with Nuu-Chah-Nulth peoples to oppose corporate logging. However, when the Indigenous peoples themselves wished to harvest their own lands (to them, the conflict was always about a right and a relationship to the land), the ideologically driven environmentalists opposed the Nuu-Chah-Nulth. Bruce Braun relates that "debate over the future of these forests was often cast in terms of a binary logic (pristine nature/destructive humanity)" and that "[not] only did this binary logic authorize certain actors to speak for nature's defence ... it risked marginalizing others (local communities, forest workers, First Nations) who understood, and related to, the forest in very different ways." (59) To the activists there was one "right way" to do things, and despite their opposition to the corporate system, they remained content to enforce their own parallel system.

One reason why Settlers may be willing to accept overarching imperial control in exchange for "peace and order" is a particular cultural genealogy: a rigid, religiously based code of conduct that serves as a core component of imperial dogma. Eminent Lakota scholar Vine Deloria Jr. cites the Nuremberg Trials following World War II as "the moment of history in which Western Christianity achieved its greatest influence." As Deloria describes, the Allied nations, forming the core of the new imperial and colonial elites, "presumed to speak for all of civilization and judged the Nazi leaders not as losers but as those who had violated the basic tenets of civilized and religious existence." Of course, this act relied on a falsehood, that "they themselves stood sinless before all and before history and were fit to judge." (60) Deloria makes the point that it is this attitude of superiority that allows those within the imperial structure to act as self-crowned arbiters of morality, often deciding that what benefits themselves the most is "good." Thus, those within the imperial order contribute to colonialism by acting as judges and enforcing the decisions of "civilization" as a whole; this helps to explain why Settler Canadians tend to react strongly and with violent repression to challenges from Indigenous peoples.

It also partially explains the rationale of the Canadian state, which insists that conflicts with Indigenous peoples are an "internal affair." This was the argument that Britain and Canada used to prevent Deskaheh, a representative of the Haudenosaunee confederacy, from speaking to the League of Nations in 1923. (61) It was also fundamental to Canada's stated motivations for refusing to sign the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007 with Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl, stating that the declaration "conflicts with the existing Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which the government believes already protects the rights of aboriginals." (62) The recourse is to have the Canadian judiciary rule on issues in which they have a clear conflict of interest. (63) Challenges to these perspectives are neither welcome nor tolerated; these challenges threaten the imperial order itself as well as the very core of "civilization" which, as Day has pointed out, is the only thing in the mind of most Settler peoples standing between themselves and destruction. Just as this perception of superiority is based in part on monotheistic religious dogma, the social reflection is that of a world where power is concentrated in elites, with evangelical colonizers spreading the "good word," by force if necessary. (64) What Settler Canadians fail to realize is that control through judgment and repression tends not to achieve safety for colonizers and others within the imperial order; it is this repression that, just as it fueled violence in Algeria and Chiapas, now fuels the ongoing Caledonia standoff and potentially violent reactions to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. (65)

Settler Canadians are pressured to commit to this overarching methodology in several ways beyond pure dogmatism. First, Settler Canadians live very close to Indigenous peoples and on Indigenous lands, which has the effect of constantly reminding Settlers of the existence and threat of "disorder" meaning an existence outside of carefully controlled imperial power structures; this is part of the maintenance of Canada as a location of hybrid imperialism. Consider Fanon's description of French settlers in Algeria, holed up inside walled cities. "The colonial world," Fanon reveals, "is a world divided into compartments.... The settlers' town is a strongly built town, all made of stone and steel.... The settlers' town is a town of white people, of foreigners." (66) The fear that the Indigenous inhabitants inspired in the Settlers was not even dependent on their actions; the existence of the "Other" was enough to suggest that chaos lurked wherever the colonizer had not established absolute control. Similarly, when Canadian Settlers and Indigenous peoples have engaged in peaceful contact, including trade agreements, peaceful coexistence treaties, and military alliances, Indigenous peoples remained an uncertainty in the Settler mentality, explaining why treaties have historically been broken as fast as possible in Canada. Treaties represent a limited form of control, but Settlers trade them for more certain forms of control such as military dominance and economic coercion. The example of the Lakota and the American violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty described earlier is pertinent here. The Fort Laramie Treaty was useful in buying time after the Lakota had fought the U.S. military to a standstill, but when "rumours of gold in the Black Hills had lured a swarm of miners and prospectors into Lakota country" and American military strength had recovered sufficiently to overcome fear of defeat, peace was no longer desirable. (67) Similar situations can be seen in the establishment of the numbered treaties in Canada and in the complete lack of treaties in much of British Columbia, given that American expansion into the Northwest Coast posed a far greater threat to Canadian territorial integrity than the resistance of Indigenous peoples during the founding of the province of British Columbia. (68) Certainty of control, not ideals, motivated these decisions.

In addition to the proximity of Settler peoples to the "war machine," the Settler imperative of control is further reinforced by cultural "myths." For example, Paulette Regan describes the "peacemaker" myth of Canadian society:
   [Most] Canadians associate violence only with physical
   confrontation such as that which occurred during the Oka, Gustafsen
   Lake, Ipperwash Park and Burnt Church crises. We are disturbed by
   these violent conflicts because they call into question a core
   belief and tenet of the peacemaker myth; that our relationship with
   First Nations is built on non-violence. We congratulate ourselves
   on the fact that armed confrontation is still the exception in
   Canada, seeing this somehow as proof of the moral and cultural
   superiority we have demonstrated by willingly negotiating with
   Indigenous peoples over time. (69)

This myth reinforces ignorance and excuses Settler participation in the creation of the society of control, since the benefit is the establishment of "peace and order"; all actions are recast in the light of the mythic peacemaker. Joseph Campbell states that it is myths that inform a society's ethos and that much of the reason that imperial societies must rely upon law and other forms of control stems from the fact that contemporary European American society has ignored or denuded mythologies to the point that they now have no ethos. (70) Perhaps the truth is not that Canadian society has no myths or ethos but rather that the constructed myths of Settler society such as the "peacemaker myth" are designed specifically to create an ethos that glorifies or requires control.

As mentioned previously, Memmi notes that the act of being controlled leads Settlers and eventually those whom they colonize to seek the control of others, pointing out that "such is the history of the pyramid of petty tyrants: each one, being socially oppressed by one more powerful than he, always finds a less powerful one on whom to lean, and becomes a tyrant in his turn." (71) Many scholars, including Day and Alfred, have noted that the Canadian state itself is neither ethically nor culturally neutral; it is a hierarchical mechanism of control expressive of the aspects of Western society that have been historically and continue to be concerned with power above all else and serves to encourage further oppression. The myth building that Canadian Settlers engage in is also indicative of this society, and every generation that passes rein forces old myths and facilitates in the construction of new myths. In essence, because Settler Canadians exist within imperial systems designed to colonize and control, they themselves are repeatedly recolonized and reordered to contribute to the empire. The same controls that imperialism impresses upon colonized Indigenous people, including the use of police force to enforce arbitrary legislation, cultural myth making and history writing, and economic coercion, are also applied to the colonist. The sole difference is that the Settler receives a much greater degree of reward and privilege for participating in the system of power and control; this is why assimilation of Indigenous peoples, even as an end goal, will never be full assimilation: the colonized must fill a lower slot in the pyramid than the colonizer.

To review, the imperial ambitions of the Canadian state and its transnational partners express a need for power, and thus many Settler Canadians choose to engage in expansive creation of systems of control, encouraged by the efforts of imperial elites who grant privileges in exchange for assistance. Settler Canadians feel this need particularly strongly because of their proximity to Indigenous peoples who, in their eyes, represent chaos and because of the growing, complicated myths of Settler Canadian benevolence that act as both a cover and a motivator for actions of control. Imperial forces exert pressure to ensure that Settlers continue to fill their colonial role; once this process is established, though, we must ask the question of why Settlers continue to submit to a society predicated upon power and control that is so diametrically opposed to the principles that most Settlers claim so strongly to espouse and that results in their own control. Understanding and confronting this motivation on an individual level is key to dismantling the Canadian society of control and the hybrid colonial values that it protects.


This article originally appeared as parts of two chapters in my master's thesis, "Being Colonial: Colonial Mentalities in Canadian Settler Society and Political Theory," December 2006. I would like to thank Dr. Taiaiake Alfred, Dr. Jeff Corntassel, and Dr. James Tully for their contributions and Emma Battell Lowman for her editorial assistance and encouragement. I would also like to thank the peer reviewers, whose feedback was essential and who were the first to notice my bizarre attribution of Animal Farm to Orson Wells.

(1.) Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Boston: Beacon Press, 1965), 8-9.

(2.) Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Toronto: Grove Press, 1963).

(3.) James Tully, "The Struggles of Indigenous Peoples for and of Freedom," in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ed. Duncan Ivision, Paul Patton, and Will Sanders (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 36-59, 40.

(4.) Memmi, Colonizer and the Colonized, 62; Fanon cited in Glen Coulthard, "Subjects of Empire: Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Recognition in Colonial Contexts," Contemporary Political Theory 6, no. 4 (2007): 437-60, 446.

(5.) Taiaiake Alfred, Wasase: Indigenous Pathways to Action and Freedom (Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2005), 135.

(6.) Memmi, Colonizer and the Colonized, 17.

(7.) Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel, "Being Indigenous," Government and Opposition 40, no. 4 (2005): 597-614, 597.

(8.) Memmi, Colonizer and the Colonized, 7.

(9.) Memmi, Colonizer and the Colonized, 157.

(10.) Malinda Maynor and Christopher McLeod, In the Light of Reverence, Independent Television Service and Native American Public Telecommunications, originally broadcast August 14, 200l.

(11.) Rex Weyler, Blood of the Land (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992), 62.

(12.) Cole Harris, The Resettlement of British Columbia (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997), xvii-xxi.

(13.) Anthony Hall, The American Empire and the Fourth World: The Bowl with One Spoon (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003), 8.

(14.) Weyler, Blood of the Land, 262.

(15.) Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001). Hardt and Negri differentiate between historical empires and contemporary "Empire" (capitalized). For the sake of accuracy and to avoid confusion I use the terms "historical" and "contemporary" where applicable. Where neither of these terms appears I am referencing a general concept that may be said to be applicable across large spans of time.

(16.) Jerry Mander, In the Absence of the Sacred (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1992), 2-4.

(17.) See Martin Van Creveld, Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) for a comprehensive history of both basic state structure and arguments asserting the decline of the importance of the state.

(18.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, xii.

(19.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, xiv.

(20.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 11.

(21.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 14.

(22.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 14.

(23.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 14.

(24.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 35.

(25.) Jeff Corntassel, "To Be Ungovernable," New Socialist 58 (September 2006): 35-37. See also Jeff Corntassel, "Partnership in Action? Indigenous Political Mobilization and Co-optation during the First UN Indigenous Decade (1995-2004)," Human Rights Quarterly 29 (2007): 137-66.

(26.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 41.

(27.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 9.

(28.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 9.

(29.) Alfred, Wasase, 235.

(30.) Alfred and Corntassel, "Being Indigenous," 601.

(31.) See generally Fanon, Wretched of the Earth; Memmi, Colonizer and the Colonized; Alfred, Wasase; and Richard Day, Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Undercurrents in the Newest Social Movements (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2005).

(32.) For a thorough discussion of the colonial nature of the BCTP generally see Taiaiake Alfred, "Deconstructing the British Columbia Treaty Process," Balayi: Culture, Law and Colonialism 3 (2001): 37-65.

(33.) British Columbia Treaty Commission, What's in These Treaties? A Plain Language Guide to Tsawwassen First Nation Treaty and the Maa-nulth First Nations Treaty (Victoria: Queen's Printer, 2008), 24-30.

(34.) Though the process is generally well known, for a discussion of World Bank and IMF practices see Paul Kingsnorth, One No, Many Yeses (London: Free Press, 2003), 65-71.

(35.) Judith Lavoie, "Land, Cash Pave the Way for Treaty," Victoria Times-Colonist, November 14, 2008, A1.

(36.) Alfred, Wasase, 53.

(37.) "Arrested First Nations Activists Allege Intimidation," CBC News Online, June 29, 2005, 50629.html. It should be noted that no charges were ever filed, that all seized materials were quietly returned to Dennis and Ward, and that the arrests were shortly followed by the disbanding of the West Coast Warrior Society, of which Dennis and Ward were members. See "West Coast Warrior Society Disbands: Final Communique," Union of BC Indian Chiefs, August 2, 2005, http://www.ubcic

(38.) "NDP Calls for Fantino 'to Resign or Be Fired' over Brant Wiretaps," CBC News Online, July 21, 2008, fantino-ndp.html.

(39.) Day, Gramsci Is Dead, 5.

(40.) Vine Deloria Jr., God Is Red (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Press, 1994), 66-67.

(41.) Tully, "Struggles of Indigenous Peoples," 39.

(42.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 44-46.

(43.) See Friends of Grassy Narrows ( and Free Grassy Narrows (

(44.) Tully, "Struggles of Indigenous Peoples," 40.

(45.) James Axtell, The European and the Indian: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 41.

(46.) Axtell, The European and the Indian, 42.

(47.) Weyler, Blood of the Land, 259.

(48.) Hall, American Empire, 9.

(49.) Hall, American Empire, 9.

(50.) Hall, American Empire, 10.

(51.) In point of fact, many imperial traditions in Western society have been borrowed from Persian, Arab, Chinese, Japanese, and southern African empires.

(52.) Alfred, Wasase, 109.

(53.) Nietzsche was one Western thinker to recognize this tendency within Western society, asserting that "right" and "wrong" had much less to do with universal moral standards than with competing definitions from elites ("princes" and "priests"). See Fredrick Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and the Genealogy of Morals, trans. F. Golfing (New York: Anchor Books, 1956), 158-88.

(54.) The following is a brief background of these conflicts. The Lubicon Lake standoff (Alberta) resulted from the lack of federal recognition for the existence of the Lubicon Cree as a First Nation, the effect of which was the opening of Lubicon territory to timber and oil interests. The Oka standoff is the most well known and documented contemporary conflict between Indigenous and Settler people, centered on an attempt to build a golf course over a Mohawk burial ground near Oka, Quebec. The Ipperwash standoff is named for Ipperwash Park, an area of Stoney Point (Anishinaabeg) territory that had been appropriated by the federal government during World War II for military purposes and never returned. The standoff resulted in the death of Stoney Point member Dudley George, who was shot by the Ontario Provincial Police. The Caledonia standoff in southern Ontario is an ongoing conflict in which Haudenosaunee people of the Six Nations reserve have occupied and reclaimed tracts of land under development for subdivisions that the confederacy claims under the Haldimand Grant of 1784. All of these standoffs involved blocking access to roads or specific sites and center on disputes over traditional lands.

(55.) Leroy Little Bear, "Jagged World Views Colliding," in Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision, ed. Marie Battiste (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2000), 77-85.

(56.) Day, Gramsci Is Dead, 139.

(57.) In addition to Gramsci Is Dead see also Richard Day, Multiculturalism and the History of Canadian Diversity (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2000).

(58.) Day, Gramsci Is Dead, 80, emphasis added.

(59.) Bruce Braun, The Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture, and Power on Canada's West Coast (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), 2.

(60.) Deloria, God Is Red, 49-50.

(61.) Petition to the League of Nations from the Six Nations of the Grand River, Communicated to the Members of the Council, August 7, 1923, League of Nations file no. C.500.1923.VII, United Nations, Geneva.

(62.) "Canada Votes 'No' as UN Native Rights Declaration Passes," CBC News Online, September 13, 2007, canada-indigenous.html.

(63.) By conflict of interest I am referring to cases presented to the courts that, if the facts of the case were to be found in the favor of Indigenous peoples, would invalidate the Canadian constitution, which empowers the courts. For an example see Judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia (1997), file no. 23799.

(64.) Deloria, God Is Red, 219.

(65.) For a good analysis of how increasing levels of control actually create insecurity see Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival (Victoria, AU: Owl Publishing, 2003). For information on resistance to the 2010 Olympics see the Web site No 2010 Olympics on Stolen Native Land,

(66.) Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, 37-39.

(67.) Weyler, Blood of the Land, 62.

(68.) Daniel P. Marshall, "No Parallel: American Miner-Soldiers at War with the Nlaka-pamux of the Canadian West," in Parallel Destinies, ed. John Findlay and Kenneth Coates (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), 31-79, 33.

(69.) Paulette Regan, "Unsettling the Settler Within: Canada's Peacemaker Myth, Reconciliation, and Transformative Pathways to Decolonization" (Ph.D. diss., University of Victoria, 2006).

(70.) Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (New York: Anchor Books, 1991), 10.

(71.) Memmi, Colonizer and the Colonized, 17.
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Author:Barker, Adam J.
Publication:The American Indian Quarterly
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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