What does ‘recognition’ actually (i.e., spatially) means? Michelle Daigle, ‘Awawanenitakik: The spatial politics of recognition and relational geographies of Indigenous self-determination’, The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 2016
Abstract: Self-determination for Indigenous peoples across the globe continues to be a controversial and widely debated topic. In Canada, the language of recognition has been increasingly utilized to frame Indigenous claims for self-determination resulting in policies and initiatives that have often been deemed progressive and empowering. In response, an increasing number of scholars and activists have argued that land claims, self-government models, and economic development initiatives implemented by the Crown under the guise of recognition continue to reproduce colonial Indigenous-state relations in Canada. In this article, I juxtapose the spatiality of colonial governance reproduced through recognition-based strategies with the relational geographies lived through everyday practices of self-determination that are rooted in place-based Indigenous ontologies. Specifically, I examine Omushkegowuk Cree ontologies of self-determination expressed through the law of awawanenitakik and lived through the process of ceremonial regeneration. In doing so, I aim to cultivate further dialogue in geography on the diverse ways Indigenous peoples think about and live self-determination outside and/or alongside formal state and intergovernmental structures, while simultaneously complicating the way we think about place, land, and responsibility.
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