Enduring indigeneities: J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, ‘”A Structure, Not an Event”: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity’, Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, Forum: Emergent Critical Analytics for Alternative Humanities, 5, 1, 2016
Excerpt: I begin this essay by unpacking what I mean by “enduring indigeneity” in my title and what that means to an understanding of settler colonialism. Here I use it in two senses: first, that indigeneity itself is enduring—that the operative logic of settler colonialism may be to “eliminate the native,” as the late English scholar Patrick Wolfe brilliantly theorized, but that indigenous peoples exist, resist, and persist; and second, that settler colonialism is a structure that endures indigeneity, as it holds out against it.
Wolfe’s essay “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native” is often cited as the principal work representing the concept and theory of the settler colonial analytic. And although Wolfe insisted on making it clear time and again that he did not create the field of settler colonial studies—that Native scholars did—within the field of American Studies (as just one example), he tends to be most frequently cited as if he had. Indeed, this one article of his (although not his first writing on the subject, nor the last) also seems to be the most cited, perhaps because it offers so much in one piece by distinguishing settler colonialism from genocide, contrasting settler colonialism from franchise colonialism, and—through comparative work focused on Australia, Israel-Palestine, and the United States—showing how the logic of settler colonialism is premised on the elimination of indigenous peoples.
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