“New World” Settler Colonialism: “Killing Indians, Making Niggers”

Decolonization

by Aman Sium

“New World” settler colonialism can be described as a process of “killing Indians, making niggers.” By this I mean that, within the visionary project of building and maintaining a settler state, there are the immediate projects of clearing “virgin” land for industry and settlement (“killing Indians”), as well as constructing a racial category of enslavable and otherwise indentured labor to help cultivate it (“making niggers”). The colonial end game becomes a world where Indigenous peoples are thought of as always dead, dying or inexplicably disappeared. A world where black life is defined by slavability and being made the necessary causalities of capitalist development. In many cases the “killing” or “making” plays out as the literal removal of black and Indigenous bodies: Indigenous genocide and land theft, black enslavement, police violence and incarceration, murdered and missing women, 60’s scoop, forced relocation, temporary foreign worker schemes, deportation etc. In…

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