Colonial Validation of Indigenous Exclusion: The Written Word and Other "Legitimizing" Tactics of Ethnocentric Imperialism in Canada
Canadian Colonizers' neglect of Indigenous voices
Nicole P. Green
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Historically, Indigenous voices have been negated from the discourse of law, policy, history, academia and other such disciplines controlled by Canadian Colonizers. In neglecting Indigenous voices from such arenas, settler-colonial powers attempt to delegitimize their political, cultural, spiritual, social and historical presence. A space for Indigenous voices has been suppressed and opposed by the Settler power holders in order to deny any recognition of the legitimacy of Indigenous history and governance, and by extension, the right to self-determination. This is especially true for the scholarly field, which is based upon literary truths and, therefore, limits the epistemological scope to the written word: the word of the Colonizer. The underlying reliance upon a singular faith in the written word means that the discourse of law, treaties, and the understanding of land rights is negotiated within a colonial context. Much like in the case of the Wet'suwet'en land defense, Indigenous rights (both collective and individual) are being dictated through the limited focus of a colonial lens of interpretation. Once again, this is resulting in violence and trauma against Indigenous Peoples on and for their land. In this paper, I will present two main arguments; firstly, that there is an undeniable connection between colonial reliance on the written word as being the only valid form of truth, resulting in the denial of space for Indigenous voices within the scholarly, legal and political arena and, that this connection reinforces the legitimacy of the colonial power. Secondly, I will argue that in only allowing space for one (written) truth, there is a continuation of trauma and abuse by Settlers against Indigenous People through continurd legitimation of land theft, oppression, and violence.