Daniel Coleman, ‘Indigenous place and diaspora space: of literalism and abstraction’, Settler Colonial Studies, 2005
Abstract: Indigeneity and diaspora are deeply related but deeply divided. Although they share the hazards of displacement, usually through settler colonial and/or capitalist expropriation of ancestral lands, the differences between their histories of displacement have resulted in very different political and cultural projects. Rather than trying to bridge these differences, this article deploys a kind of strategic binarism by reading the poetry of Syilx author Jeannette Armstrong in contrast with that of Black Atlantic writer Dionne Brand in order to highlight the tensions between Indigenous commitments to literal places as compared to diasporic distrust of nativism and its reputed essentialism. By animating a dialogue between advocates of literal Indigenous place and of abstract diasporic space, this article seeks to open what Cree philosopher Willie Ermine calls an ‘ethical space of engagement’ where Indigenous and diasporic differences can mutually inform one another.
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