“Gather Your People”: Learning to Listen Intergenerationally in Settler-Indigenous Politics

Political Theory 48 (6):665-691 (2020)
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Decolonization requires critical attention to settler logics that reinforce settler-colonialism, yet settler communities, as a rule, operate without a collective sense of identity and history. This article, provoked by Māori protocols of encounter, explores the necessity of developing a sense of collective identity as precursor to meeting in settler-Indigenous politics. It argues that the ability, desire, and experience of being unmarked as a social group—apparent in paradigmatic approaches to engaging social difference in settler communities—is at the heart of the particularity of settler group identity and also stands at the heart of countless failures to meet in settler-Indigenous politics. This essay thus seeks to mark the particular ground of this unmarkedness of settler identity in Western philosophies that set being unmarked as both ontology and ideal; the dominance of settler communities in places of settlement; and the willful forgetting of the colonial histories brought about by such dominance.



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