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Negotiating Colonial Encounters: (Un)Mapping the Policing of Indigenous Peoples' Protests in Canada

Negotiating Colonial Encounters: (Un)Mapping the Policing of Indigenous Peoples' Protests in Canada

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Title: Negotiating Colonial Encounters: (Un)Mapping the Policing of Indigenous Peoples' Protests in Canada
Author: Dafnos, Democratia
Abstract: This dissertation adopts an analytic concept of settler colonial pacification to examine shifts in the policing of Indigenous peoples’ protests in Ontario from the mid-1990s to 2013. Following the high-profile conflicts at Oka/ Kanesatake, Gustafsen Lake/ Ts'Peten and Ipperwash/ Aazhoodena, the Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP introduced several reforms, which were promoted as guarding against the escalation of violence during protests: relationship-building with Indigenous communities, negotiation-based protest policing, measured response, and intelligence-led policing. These have been adopted in the context of an intensified national security environment based on the protection of critical infrastructure. My project situates these reforms in the context of the Canadian state’s ongoing project of settler colonialism. For a critical understanding of policing, colonial relations must be foundational to the analysis and the police institution must be situated in the context of ongoing colonialism because of its historical foundations in constituting settler colonial order.
Through open source texts, records obtained through access to information requests, and interviews with law enforcement and government personnel, this dissertation (un)maps institutional policies, practices, tensions and disjunctures in the implementation of reforms. I trace the practices and interconnections of three institutional clusters of policing: front line police forces, the intelligence and national security nexus, and Indian Affairs and the emergency management apparatus. These processes are organized through and reinforce the symbiotic depoliticising logics of (1) liberal legalistic discourses of rights, and (2) security discourses of prevention and management. I argue that these contemporary practices can be understood as settler colonial pacification strategies that simultaneously work to suppress Indigenous nationhood and (re)produce the Canadian nation-state. Deployed in governing Indigenous peoples, these practices reveal the persistent settler state concern with asserting sovereign authority. As settler colonialism is an ongoing process, there are historical continuities and discontinuities in pacification practices. Shifts and disjunctures in policing practices reflect the inherent instability and anxieties of settler colonialism and the paradox of liberal democratic policing vis-à-vis Indigenous self-determination struggles.
Subject: Sociology
Keywords: Policing
Settler colonialism
Indigenous self-determination
Emergency management
Critical infrastructure
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/29881
Supervisor: Williams, James W.
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Sociology
Exam date: 2014-09-11
Publish on: 2015-08-28

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