Panel discussion at SFU on Red Skin/White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition

Panel Discussion at SFU on Red Skin/White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition

Glen Coulthard, a Yellowknives Dene activist, UBC First Nations Studies and political science professor, released a provocative and important new book from University of Minnesota Press in August 2014, titled Red Skin/White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Coulthard is a regular speaker at activist rallies and has written a number of articles related to the Idle No More movement, oil sands pipelines and other resource development on Indigenous lands. The book will be the subject of a panel discussion at SFU Vancouver on October 22nd.

Where much of contemporary mainstream media focus on recognition and reconciliation as a method of reconfiguring the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada, Coulthard argues that recognition primarily serves the interests of settler-colonial power. For him, processes of recognition and cultural accommodation are not only inadequate instruments to address the justice demands of First Nations but are now a central means through which colonial dispossession is reproduced. From the official apology from the Government of Canada, to reconciliation ceremonies of the past few years, to the modern day land claims process, Coulthard argues that the politics of recognition too often serve the interests of colonialism and has very little to do with addressing justice in either the historical or contemporary sense.

In exploring the work of Indigenous resistance movements like Red Power and Idle No More, Coulthard highlights the new possibilities of authentic decolonization. By bringing Frantz Fanon’s important work to shed light on settler-colonization and Indigenous resistance, this book will surely be talked about for many years to come and will inform Indigenous organizing and relations to the state, both theoretically and practically.

The book is a timely intervention as political conflicts over land use and state policies regarding Indigenous peoples continue to be marked by asymmetrical and one-sided approaches.

 You can watch some of Coulthard’s previous public talks here:

 Joining the panel to discuss Red Skin/White Masks will be:

 Rita Kaur Dhamoon, an Assistant Professor in Political Science, at the

University of Victoria, the territory of the Lekwungen peoples, Canada. Hernresearch interests broadly focus on the politics of difference, including multiculturalism and nation-building, securitization and race, settler colonialism, gender and feminist politics, intersectionality, critical race and anti-colonial politics, relations between people of colour and Indigenous peoples, and Sikhs and the problem with inclusion. 

Sarah Hunt(PhD), a writer, educator and activist currently based in Lkwungen Territories (Victoria, BC) and is of Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw), Ukrainian and English ancestry. She has more than 15 years’ experience doing community-based work on issues of justice, education and cultural revitalization in rural and urban Indigenous communities across BC. Most recently, Sarah’s research investigated the relationship between law and violence in ongoing neocolonial relations in BC, asking how violence gains visibility through Indigenous and Canadian socio-legal discourse and action. Her research is particularly concerned with revitalizing Indigenous law and Indigenous territorial relations through local level anti-violence initiatives. 

Jarrett Martineau, a Cree/Dene digital media producer, hip hop artist, and academic from Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta. He is a PhD candidate in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Jarrett has worked at the intersection of art, media, and activism for many years, and his research examines the role of art and creativity in advancing Indigenous nationhood and decolonization. 

 Matt Hern, an activist and scholar whose articles and books have been published on all six continents and translated into ten languages. He teaches at a variety of universities, lectures globally, and continues to organize in Vancouver.

 Details for the panel discussion can be found at the SFU event website. 





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