Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Andrew Robinson (Wilfred Laurier University)
Pipeline Politics and Indigenous Resistance: A Media Frame Analysis of Indigenous Protests against the Trans-Mountain Pipeline: Brian Budd (University of Guelph) Abstract: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s final report released in 2015 called on range of state and social institutions to reform their relationships with Indigenous peoples. One institution highlighted by the TRC are news media organizations who were called upon to enact reforms that address settler colonial discourses in news representations of Indigenous peoples and issues. My paper seeks to examine the degree to which a shift in news media representation has occurred by investigating representations offered by Canadian newspapers of Indigenous protests against the construction of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline. Using the techniques of content analysis, I examine how Indigenous opposition to the pipeline has been framed by Canadian newspapers and journalists and the degree to which patterns in representation cohere to historical trends in media coverage linked to settler colonial ideology and discourse. In studying these news media representations, I rely on Coulthard’s theorization on the colonial politics of recognition, which argues that Indigenous peoples and cultures are increasingly receiving political recognition in a manner that reinforces settler colonial power structures and territorial sovereignty. Indigenous opposition against the Trans-Mountain pipeline serves as a useful case to assess the degree to which media discourse has shifted around issues that intersect with Indigenous claims to territorial sovereignty. This paper is part of a broader comparative research project exploring differences in news media representation between Indigenous political issues in Canada in the current era of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and settlers.
No Reconciliation in the Wasteland: The Reconciliation Paradigm and Ongoing Violence in British Columbia: Rachel George (University of Victoria) Abstract: Following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report and 94 Calls to Action in 2015, a reconciliation discourse has dominated the Canadian socio-political landscape. Reconciliation and justice have become entangled in state efforts to “close the gap” for Indigenous peoples with improved programs and services. At the same time, Canada has actively asserted its presumed authority over Indigenous lands and bodies by approving various extractive and exploitative natural resource projects such as the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline, and Site C Dam despite ongoing Indigenous resistance. Within reconciliation, any discussion of Indigenous understandings of self-determination are actively silenced. Instead, ongoing “wastelanding” is evident: the fully colonial process that renders nature extractable, and Indigenous land/seascapes and bodies pollutable and disposable. This begs the question: How does reconciliation, as the advancement of justice, develop when specific Indigenous rights are denied? This paper will strive to answer this question through a juxtaposition of recent reconciliation discourse with ongoing state-sanctioned violence to the lands and waters in British Columbia, particularly around the Site C Dam. This analysis reveals an emerging tendency to advance justice in terms of soft rights, while actively erasing the hard rights of Indigenous peoples to govern their lands and waters.
Reporting the Many-Headed Hydra: Challenging Violence Against Indigenous Women from Extractive Industries: James FitzGerald (York University) Abstract: In the wake of the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline standoff at Standing Rock, a confluence of critical humanitarian and Indigenous discourses emerged internationally linking resource extraction to physical, sexual, and environmental violence facing Indigenous women and communities. Reports like those by Amnesty International (2016), Human Rights Watch (2016), the Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network (2016), and the Fire Light Group (2017) represent a concerted effort to link understandings of infrastructure, environmental destruction, and gender-based violence through the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I draw together Audra Simpson’s (2016) discussion of regimes of extraction and disappearance facing Indigenous women; Deborah Cowen’s (2014) reading of global logistics networks producing new formations of security, violence, and displacement; and Michel Foucault’s theory of genealogy to trace out shifts in challenging extractive regimes, formations of violence and subjectivity, and political erasure of critical discourses. Through this I seek to answer the question how the political claims of Indigenous women surrounding resource extraction have transformed since the early 2000s and how representations of the embodiment of violence are being produced locally to mobilize Indigenous claims to land (Leanne Betasamosake Simpson), jurisdiction (Shiri Pasternak 2017), or nested sovereignties (Audra Simpson 2014) and transnationally to challenge extractive regimes. Here I reflect on the political challenge intimate and environmental violence presents to logistical and extractive spaces as well as reflecting upon the collapsing of narratives of subjectivity, community, and rights back into regimes of settler colonialism accommodation and recognition.