Yes! Magazine: Resisting the Power Structures That Keep Colonialism Alive

By Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Yes! Magazine

As We Have Always Done (Leanne Betasamosake Simpson)I am interested in freedom, not survival, and as kwe, I understand my freedom is dependent upon the destruction of settler colonialism.


I understand settler colonialism’s present structure as one that is formed and maintained by a series of processes for the purposes of dispossessing, that create scaffolding within which my relationship to the state is contained. I certainly do not experience it as a historical incident that has unfortunate consequences in the present. I experience it as a gendered structure and a series of complex and overlapping processes that work together as a cohort to maintain the structure. The structure is one of perpetual disappearance of Indigenous bodies for perpetual territorial acquisition, to use Patrick Wolfe’s phrase. I think the insight that settler colonialism is formed and maintained by a series of processes is important because it recognizes that the state sets up different controlled points of interaction through its practices—consultations, negotiations, high-level meetings, inquiries, royal commissions, police, and law, for instance, that slightly shift, at least temporarily and on microscales, our experience of settler colonialism as a structure. The state uses its asymmetric power to ensure it always controls the processes as a mechanism for managing Indigenous sorrow, anger, and resistance, and this ensures the outcome remains consistent with its goal of maintaining dispossession. 


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