White Settlers and Indigenous Solidarity: Confronting White Supremacy, Answering Decolonial Alliances

“If white people who practice Indigenous solidarity miss, or never consider these nuances when invoking “settler” status, I am concerned that we then leave its whiteness normalized and unchallenged within our theories and activism. Reflecting on this has led me to a number of questions about how white people embracing the singular or uniform term “settler” may obscure differences among non-natives and reinforce our formation by white supremacy. For instance, if white people self-define through an oppressor role with respect to Indigenous people, does our emphasis on this let us evade naming our oppressor roles with respect to peoples of color? Or, if we think that these latter roles are subsumed or explained by the term “settler,” do our analyses and actions then demonstrate how this is so?”

Decolonization

White settlers who seek solidarity with Indigenous challenges to settler colonialism must confront how white supremacy shapes settler colonialism, our solidarity, and our lives. As a white person working in Canada and the United States to challenge racism and colonialism (in queer / trans politics, and solidarity activism) I am concerned that white people might embrace Indigenous solidarity in ways that evade our responsibilities to people of color and to their calls upon us to challenge all forms of white supremacy. This essay presents my responsibilities to theories and practices of decolonization that connect Indigenous and racialized peoples. I highlight historical studies by Indigenous and critical race scholars — notably, those bridging black and Indigenous studies — as they illuminate deep interlockings of white supremacy and settler colonialism. I call white settlers to become responsible to these, and related projects, so as to challenge the authority we might claim, or…

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