Settler Colonial City

Settler Colonial City

Racism and Inequity in Postwar Minneapolis

David Hugill

Revealing the enduring link between settler colonization and the making of modern Minneapolis

216 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517904807
  • Published: November 23, 2021
  • Hardcover
  • 9781517904791
  • Published: November 23, 2021
  • eBook
  • 9781452966298
  • Published: November 23, 2021


Settler Colonial City

Racism and Inequity in Postwar Minneapolis

David Hugill

ISBN: 9781517904807

Publication date: November 23rd, 2021

216 Pages

14 black & white illustrations, 2 maps

8 x 5

"David Hugill's study of one American city illustrates in no uncertain terms the ways in which racial and other hierarchies of settler colonialism are literally built into the urban landscape. Deeply researched and powerfully articulate in its framing of Minneapolis's past and present, Settler Colonial City is a profoundly important work, contributing to the burgeoning literature on settler colonialism in North America and providing a model for scholarship on and in other places."—Coll Thrush, author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place

"This timely study elucidates how Minneapolis, as a settler colonial city built on Indigenous dispossession, continues to produce structural inequity through a racialized economy of power. David Hugill argues forcefully that the ongoing operations of settler colonial violence shapes postwar Minneapolis, including through a legacy of racist policing and entrenched racial disparities rooted in the history of wealth transfer through settler colonialism that defy the city’s liberal reputation."—Jean M. O'Brien, University of Minnesota

"A rigorously researched and well-supported empirical contribution to the examination of settler colonialism and its contemporary continuities."—Journal of the American Planning Association

"There is much for all of us to learn from these stories. It is a credit to our community for our history to be told even [if] some of it is hard to think about."—The Alley Newspaper

Revealing the enduring link between settler colonization and the making of modern Minneapolis


Colonial relations are often excluded from discussions of urban politics and are viewed instead as part of a regrettable past. In Settler Colonial City, David Hugill confronts this culture of organized forgetting by arguing that Minnesota’s largest city is enduringly bound up with the power dynamics of settler-colonial politics. Examining several distinct Minneapolis sites, Settler Colonial City tracks how settler-colonial relations were articulated alongside substantial growth in the Twin Cities Indigenous community during the second half of the twentieth century—creating new geographies of racialized advantage. 

Studying the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis in the decades that followed the Second World War, Settler Colonial City demonstrates how colonial practices and mentalities shaped processes of urban reorganization, animated non-Indigenous “advocacy research,” informed a culture of racialized policing, and intertwined with a broader culture of American imperialism. It reveals how the actions, assumptions, and practices of non-Indigenous people in Minneapolis produced and enforced a racialized economy of power that directly contradicts the city’s “progressive” reputation. 

Ultimately, Settler Colonial City argues that the hierarchical and racist political dynamics that characterized the city’s prosperous beginnings are not exclusive to a bygone era but rather are central to a recalibrated settler-colonial politics that continues to shape contemporary cities across the United States.  

David Hugill is assistant professor of geography and environmental studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He is coeditor of Settler City Limits: Indigenous Resurgence and Colonial Violence in the Urban Prairie West.



Map of Minnesota

Map of South Minneapolis

Introduction: Minneapolis as a Settler Colonial City

1. Urban Change and the Colonial Relation: The Making of an ‘Indian Neighborhood’

2. Liberal Anti-Racism as Political Dead End: The Limits of Non-Indigenous Advocacy 

3. Cops and Counter Patrols: Racialized Policing on East Franklin Avenue

4. Land Mines at Home and Abroad: American Empire in South Minneapolis