When is colonialism a genocide? The case of Indigenous women and girls in Canada

Activists seeking justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) march down Toronto streets, 22 March 2018.

Lori Lee Oates

Canada’s treatment of Indigenous persons by white settlers and contemporary government institutions are issues that have increasingly come to the forefront of late. They are at the heart of questions around how we should govern in the modern world. These institutions were not built by Indigenous persons, and Canadians are increasingly recognizing that our government has often contributed to the poor health, safety, and economic outcomes experienced by Indigenous persons.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) inquiry in Canada recently sparked a debate over whether Indigenous persons in the country have suffered, and continue to suffer, from genocide. The inquiry came about in response to years of lobbying by Indigenous women, and was the fulfillment of a campaign promise on the part of the Trudeau government. The final report was released on 3 June, entitled Reclaiming Power and Place. Continue reading “When is colonialism a genocide? The case of Indigenous women and girls in Canada”

Arthur H. Adams and the problem with settler colonial studies

Arthur H. Adams

Helen Bones
Western Sydney University

A 1936 obituary for the poet and novelist Arthur H. Adams begins with the words ‘Arthur H Adams has died an Australian’. This statement reflects a primary preoccupation with Adams for critics. Adams’s legacy as a well-respected writer of the early twentieth century and one-time editor of one of Australia’s most influential literary publications, the Bulletin’s ‘Red Page’, is clouded by the ‘problem’ of his multiple allegiances: to New Zealand, to the United Kingdom, to Australia, and to the British Empire. Adams was born and raised in New Zealand, spent time in China and the United Kingdom, and then spent the last 30 years of his life living in Sydney. A poem he wrote at the age of 18 upon moving to Australia for the first time declared: ‘My heart is hot with discontent / I hate this haggard continent’.[1] These lines are often quoted as evidence of his persistent ambivalence to his place of residence. Because the response to Adams has largely revolved around attempts to reconcile him with imagined notions of national constructions (was he a New Zealander or an Australian?), the realities of the interlinked colonial world he inhabited and wrote about have been obscured or ignored. Continue reading “Arthur H. Adams and the problem with settler colonial studies”