Settler Colonialism, Ecology, and Environmental Injustice

in Environment and Society
Author: Kyle Whyte 1
View More View Less
  • 1 Michigan State University kwhyte@msu.edu
Restricted access

ABSTRACT

Settler colonialism is a form of domination that violently disrupts human relationships with the environment. Settler colonialism is ecological domination, committing environmental injustice against Indigenous peoples and other groups. Focusing on the context of Indigenous peoples’ facing US domination, this article investigates philosophically one dimension of how settler colonialism commits environmental injustice. When examined ecologically, settler colonialism works strategically to undermine Indigenous peoples’ social resilience as self-determining collectives. To understand the relationships connecting settler colonialism, environmental injustice, and violence, the article first engages Anishinaabe intellectual traditions to describe an Indigenous conception of social resilience called collective continuance. One way in which settler colonial violence commits environmental injustice is through strategically undermining Indigenous collective continuance. At least two kinds of environmental injustices demonstrate such violence: vicious sedimentation and insidious loops. The article seeks to contribute to knowledge of how anti-Indigenous settler colonialism and environmental injustice are connected.

Contributor Notes

KYLE WHYTE is the Timnick Chair in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. His research covers areas including Indigenous climate and environmental justice, the ethics of intercultural knowledge exchange, and Indigenous philosophies of food sovereignty and environmental futures. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Email: kwhyte@msu.edu

Environment and Society

Advances in Research

  • Andow, David, Theresa Bauer, Mark Belcourt, Paul Bloom, Brenda Child, Jill Doerfler, Amber Eule-Nashoba, et al. 2009. “Preserving the Integrity of Manoomin in Minnesota”. Wild Rice White Paper prepared for “People Protecting Manoomin: Manoomin Protecting People—A Symposium Bridging Opposing Worldviews,” White Earth Indian Reservation, 2527 August.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Andrews, Jennifer Courtney Elizabeth, and Kimberly M. Blaeser. 2007. “Living History: A Conversation with Kimberly Blaeser”. Studies in American Indian Literatures 19 (2): 121. https://doi.org/10.1353/ail.2007.0015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bacon, J. M. 2018. “Settler Colonialism as Eco-Social Structure and the Production of Colonial Ecological Violence”. Environmental Sociology. Published online 28 May: 111. https://doi.org/10.1080/23251042.2018.1474725.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bang, Megan, and Douglas Medin. 2010. “Cultural Processes in Science Education: Supporting the Navigation of Multiple Epistemologies”. Science Education 94 (6): 10081026. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20392.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bohaker, Heidi. 2006. “’Nindoodemag’: The Significance of Algonquin Kinship Networks in the Eastern Great Lakes Region, 1600–1701”. The William and Mary Quarterly 63 (1): 2352.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Borrows, John. 2002. Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  • Calhoun, Anne, Mishuana Goeman, and Monica Tsethlikai. 2007. “Achieving Gender Equity for American Indians”. In Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity through Education, ed. Susan S. Klein, Barbara Richardson, Dolores A. Grayson, Lynn H. Fox, Cheris Kramarae, Diane S. Pollard and Carol Anne Dwyer, 525551. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Child, Brenda J. 2012. Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community. New York: Penguin.

  • Cramer, Kevin. 2016. “What the Dakota Access Pipeline Is Really About”. Wall Street Journal, 6 December.

  • Craft, Aimée. 2014. “Living Treaties, Breathing Research”. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 26 (1): 122.

  • DAPL Facts (Dakota Access Pipeline Facts). 2018. “The Dakota Access Pipeline Does Not Cross Land Ownded by the Standing Rock Sioux”. Accessed 19 June. https://daplpipelinefacts.com/dt_articles/dakota-access-pipeline-not-cross-land-owned-standing-rock-sioux.

    • Export Citation
  • Darnell, Regna. 1998. “Rethinking the Concepts of Band and Tribe, Community and Nation: An Accordion Model of Nomadic Native American Social Organization”. Algonquian Papers 29: 92105.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deer, Sarah, and Mary Kathryn Nagle. 2017. “The Rapidly Increasing Extraction of Oil, and Native Women, in North Dakota”. The Federal Lawyer, April, 3537.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dillon, Grace L. 2016. “Beyond the Grim Dust of What Was.” In Nicholson 2016: 911.

  • Erdrich, Louise. 2006. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country. New York: Harper.

  • Goeman, Mishuana R. 2009. “Notes toward a Native Feminism’s Spatial Practice”. Wicazo Sa Review 24 (2): 169187. https://doi.org/10.1353/wic.0.0040.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goeman, Mishuana R. 2014. “Disrupting a Settler-Colonial Grammar of Place: The Visual Memoir of Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie”. In Theorizing Native Studies, ed. Audra Simpson and Andrea Smith, 235265. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GLIFWC (Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission). 1995. Sulfide Mining: The Process and the Price—A Tribal and Ecological Perspective. Odana, WI: GLIFWC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnston, Basil. 1976. Ojibway Heritage. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Kahneman, Daniel, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky. 1982. Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kassi, Norma. 1996. “A Legacy of Maldevelopment”. In Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice, ed. Jace Weaver, 7283. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kimmerer, Robin. 2010. “The Giveaway.”” In Moral Ground, ed. Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson, 141145. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kimmerer, Robin. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Klein, Naomi. 2013. “Dancing the World into Being: A Conversation with Idle No More’s Leanne Simpson”. Yes! Magazine, 5 March. http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/dancing-the-world-into-being-a-conversation-with-idle-no-more-leanne-simpson.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lawrence, Bonita, and Enakshi Dua. 2005. “Decolonizing Anti-racism”. Social Justice 32 (4).

  • Lefevre, Tate A. 2015. “Settler Colonialism”. In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology, ed. John L. Jackson, published online with no page numbers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maldonado, Julie Koppel, Christine Shearer, Robin Bronen, Kristina Peterson, and Heather Lazrus. 2013. “The Impact of Climate Change on Tribal Communities in the US: Displacement, Relocation, and Human Rights”. Climatic Change 120 (3): 601614. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0746-z.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maracle, Lee. 2015. Memory Serves. Edmonton, AB: NeWest Press.

  • Martinez, David. 2011. The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McDonnell, Michael. 2015. Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America. New York: Hill & Wang.

  • McGregor, Deborah. 2009. “Honouring Our Relations: An Anishnaabe Perspective on Environmental Justice”. In Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada, ed. Julian Agyeman, Peter Cole, Randolph Haluza-Delay, and Pat O’Riley, 2741. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Miller, D. Ezra. 2016. “’But It Is Nothing Except Woods:’ Anabaptists, Ambitions, and a Northern Indiana Settlerscape, 1830–1841”. In Rooted and Grounded: Essays on Land and Christian Discipleship, ed. Ryan D. Harker and Janeen Bertsche Johnson, 208-2017. Eugene: Pickwick Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mohai, Paul, David Pellow, and J. Timmons Roberts. 2009. “Environmental Justice”. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 34: 405430. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-082508-094348.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nicholson, Hope. 2016. Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology. Winnipeg: Bedside Press.

  • Noodin, Margaret. 2014. Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature. Michigan State University Press.

  • O’Brien, Jean M. 1997. Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650–1790. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simpson, Leanne. 2008. “Looking after Gdoo-Naaganinaa: Precolonial Nishnaabeg Diplomatic and Treaty Relationships”. Wicazo Sa Review 23 (2): 2942. https://doi.org/10.1353/wic.0.0001.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sinclair, Niigaan. 2016. “Returning to Ourselves: Two Spirit Futures and the Now.” In Nicholson 2016: 1219.

  • Sinclair, Niigonwedom James. 2009. “A Sovereignty of Transmotion: Imagination and the ‘Real,’ Gerald Vizenor, and Native Literary Nationalism”. Paper presented at Stories through Theories, Theories through Stories: North American Indian Writing, Storytelling, and Critique.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sinclair, Niigonwedom James. 2013. “Nindoodemag Bagijiganan: A History of Anishinaabeg Narrative”. PhD diss., University of British Columbia.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sleeper-Smith, Susan. 2001. Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sleeper-Smith, Susan. 2005. “‘[A]n Unpleasant Transaction on This Frontier’: Challenging Female Autonomy and Authority at Michilimackinac”. Journal of the Early Republic 25 (3): 417443. https://doi.org/10.1353/jer.2005.0066.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Speed, Shannon. 2017. “Structures of Settler Capitalism in Abya Yala”. American Quarterly 69 (4): 783790. https://doi.org/10.1353/aq.2017.0064.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stark, Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik. 2012. “Marked by Fire: Anishinaabe Articulations of Nationhood in Treaty Making with the US and Canada”. American Indian Quarterly 36 (2): 119149. https://doi.org/10.5250/amerindiquar.36.2.0119.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sweet, Victoria. 2014a. “Extracting More Than Resources: Human Security and Arctic Indigenous Women”. Seattle University Law Review 37 (4). https://ssrn.com/abstract=2533164.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sweet, Victoria. 2014b. “Rising Waters, Rising Threats: The Human Trafficking of Indigenous Women in the Circumpolar Region of the US and Canada”. Yearbook of Polar Law Online 6 (1): 162188.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TallBear, Kimberly. 2013. Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tuck, Eve, Allison Guess, and Hannah Sultan. 2014. “Not Nowhere: Collaborating on Selfsame Land”. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society, 26 June.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor”. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1 (1).

  • Veracini, Lorenzo. 2010. Settler Colonialism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Vizenor, Gerald R. 1999. Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

  • Warrior, Robert Allen, ed. 2017. The World of Indigenous North America. New York: Routledge.

  • Watts, Vanessa. 2013. “Indigenous Place-Thought and Agency Amongst Humans and Non-Humans (First Woman and Sky Woman Go on a European World Tour!)”. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 2 (1): 2034.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WEA (Women’s Earth Alliance) and NYSHN (Native Youth Sexual Health Network). 2016. Violence on the Land, Violence on Our Bodies: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence. Toronto: WEA and NYSHN. http://landbodydefense.org/uploads/files/VLVBReportToolkit2016.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • White, Richard. 1991. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Whyte, K.P. 2015. “Indigenous Food Systems, Environmental Justice and Settler Industrial-States”. In Global Food, Global Justice: Essays on Eating under Globalization, ed. M. Rawlinson and C. Ward, 143156. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Witgen, Michael. 2011. An Infinity of Nations: How the Native New World Shaped Early North America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 814 814 330
Full Text Views 315 315 70
PDF Downloads 186 186 49