Transnational Modernity/Coloniality: Settler Colonialism, Environmental Justice, and Punjabi Diasporic Positionalities for Critical Solidarity on Turtle Island
This paper offers a transnational framework on colonialism, indigeneity, and environmental justice by connecting the historical contexts of Punjab and Turtle Island. Specifically, I analyze the origins of Punjabi out-migration to British Columbia on Coast Salish territory in the early 1900s, Indigenous and settler relations, and the positionality of Punjabis during this time negotiated through the legacies of the Komagata Maru and the anti-colonial Ghadar Party’s formation as a way to reimagine critical environmental justice solidarities for the contemporary Canadian context. This project interrogates the ways in which interlocked histories of oppression and dynamics of power between the Punjabi diaspora and Indigenous communities emerged through British imperial policies of modernity/coloniality in the Punjab region, specifically with the development of the Canal Colonies, as well as the Punjabi relationship to settler colonialism on Turtle Island. I discuss the significance of these relationships to environmental justice thought and action and engage Indigenous and decolonial scholarship for a critical discussion on the normalization of westerncentric knowledge through empire while retracing Ghadar histories of anti-colonial resistance on Turtle Island.