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Place-based redress -AND- The spectacle of reconciliation

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Essay 1: This essay proposes an effective strategy to confront Canada’s colonial public policy is settlers conducting place-based redress work rather than participating as allies in reconciliation. Despite the popularity of territorial acknowledgements and the performing of dialogue, the structural inequities persist in Canada. This essay brings together both autoethnographic and quantitative data on the role of accomplice work (Benally 2014) for critical interventions with settler power. Through engaged research experiences, autodidactic methods, mentorship from Elders, and participation in Coast Salish witness ceremonies, I became reflexive about my role in dominant culture’s fallacies. I need not wander far from terra nullis assumptions to discover the harmful underpinnings of an intact colonial system capturing willing participants for reconciliation’s charade of inclusivity. Essay 2: Spectacle and reconciliation serve a hegemonic role to continue Canada’s access to sovereign Indigenous Peoples’ lands and resources. As Canada sought a quick reconciliation with genocide, and marked its 150th birthday in 2017 with cultural celebrations, it relied on spectacle (Debord 1967) and Indigenous labour as audience commodity (Smythe 1981) to deliver the illusion of change. Far from bringing about national consensus to deliver rights and title, and repair settler and Indigenous relations, reconciliation instead delivered a liberal fantasy to maintain the extractive capitalist economy. This paper proposes reconciliation is a cloaking device to hide Canada’s assimilation and termination of rights agenda. With Canada’s incursions into Wet’suwet’en Nation, the lack of progress for Crown / Indigenous relations with benefits to transnational extractive capitalism has been exposed. The relation between the spectacle of reconciliation and maintaining colonialism has come increasingly into the light.
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