Is it Colonial DéJà Vu? Indigenous Peoples and Climate Injustice
Forthcoming, Humanities for the Environment: Integrating Knowledges, Forging New Constellations of Practice. Edited by Joni Adamson, Michael Davis, and Hsinya Huang. Earthscan Publications. Pages 88-104.
22 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2016
Indigenous peoples are among the most audible voices in the global climate justice movement. Yet, as I will show in this chapter, climate injustice is a recent episode of a cyclical history of colonialism inflicting anthropogenic (human-caused) environmental change on Indigenous peoples (Wildcat). Indigenous peoples face climate risks largely because of how colonialism, in conjunction with capitalist economics, shapes the geographic spaces they live in and their socio-economic conditions. In the North American settler colonial context, which I focus on in this chapter, U.S. settler colonial laws, policies and programs are ‘both’ a significant factor in opening up Indigenous territories for carbon-intensive economic activities and, at the same time, a significant factor in why Indigenous peoples face heightened climate risks. Climate injustice, for Indigenous peoples, is less about the spectre of a new future and more like the experience of déjà vu.
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