New academic book argues that indigeneity has been reduced to imaginaries of perseverance that have little to do with indigenous struggles or challenging colonial power.
The book, Becoming Indigenous: Governing Imaginaries in the Anthropocene, written by Professor David Chandler (University of Westminster) and Professor Julian Reid (University of Lapland), claims that representations
of indigenous peoples, while never static, have always served the interests of
settler-colonialism. Historically, the dominant framing marginalised indigenous
practices as legacies of the distant past. Today indigenous approaches are
demanded in order for settler-colonialism itself to have a future. Becoming
indigenous, we are told, is a necessity if humanity is to survive and cope with
the catastrophic changes wrought by modernist excess in the Anthropocene.
Becoming Indigenous provides an agenda-setting critique, analysing how
and why indigeneity has been reduced to instrumental imaginaries of
perseverance and resilience. Indigenous ‘alternatives’ are today central to a
range of governing discourses, which promise empowerment but are highly
disciplinary. Critical theorists often endorse these framings, happy to
instrumentalise indigenous peoples as caretakers of the environment or as
teaching the moderns about their ‘more-than-human’ responsibilities.
Chandler and Reid argue that these discourses have little to do with indigenous
struggles or with challenging settler-colonial power. In fact,
instrumentalising indigeneity in these ways merely reinforces neoliberal
hegemony, marginalising critical alternatives for both indigenous and
non-indigenous peoples alike.
The book is published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Julian Reid, julian.reid(at)ulapland.fi