A Colonial Contradiction: Unchanging Settler Colonial Conceptions of Identity and Property and Shifting
by Thea Copeman-Haynes
As a settler researcher in the area of decolonizing relationships between Indigenous peoples in so-called Canada and its non-Indigenous inhabitants, the purpose of this paper is to further untangle some of the colonial property law and identity rhetoric so that it can be better understood and resisted. Based largely on the research of Indigenous scholars, I show how the neoliberal BC Treaty Process is part of maintaining the broader colonial regime on land through time. I show how contradictory it is for settler society to seemingly value time over land, when indeed this is not the case. Colonial conceptions of land through property law reveal that counter to dominant narratives, colonialism is indeed a structure with tangible aspects, rather than a singular event in time. I show how the colonial state attempts to hide this to enable its survival at the direct cost of Indigenous lives, selfhoods, and livelihoods. This mode of analysis is not new; I write largely to settlers to encourage them to acknowledge, unpack, and resist the modes of domination which we benefit from, and emphasize the vitality of engaging directly the Indigenous authors I reference and beyond.