Colonialism and Access to a Disenchanted Earth

Yaëll Emerich and Laurence Saint-Pierre Harvey, eds, Accès à la terre et enjeux sociaux : précarité, territorialité et identité (Montreal : Thémis, 2019)

Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Kirsten Anker

Kirsten Anker

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 16, 2018

Abstract

The reverse side of the story of colonisation as the dispossession of Indigenous peoples is that of deracinated settlers attempting to appropriate for themselves a land in which they had no historical roots, and no deep ecological knowledge. This paper argues that this geographical displacement reinforced the rationalisation of property and the disenchantment of peoples’ relationship to place that was occurring throughout Western societies. In many ways, the vocabulary of access, use, rights, occupation, exclusion and control is the language of that disenchanted relationship. Indigenous peoples who wish their claims to be recognised must now frame their relationship in these terms, but there is always resistance to this frame, and the insistence on an alternative language of connection, belonging, knowledge, care and responsibility. However, the denial and destruction of this alternative relationship is not just a tragedy for Indigenous peoples, it is part of the pathology of modern property. This paper poses the question, then, of the possibility of a re-enchanted property system.

Keywords: property, indigenous rights, colonization, disenchantment, displacement

Suggested Citation

Anker, Kirsten, Colonialism and Access to a Disenchanted Earth (March 16, 2018). Yaëll Emerich and Laurence Saint-Pierre Harvey, eds, Accès à la terre et enjeux sociaux : précarité, territorialité et identité (Montreal : Thémis, 2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3241621

Kirsten Anker (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

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