Steven Newcomb: US, Canada continue to occupy Native lands

"It is typical to refer to our respective nations and peoples as being “in” Canada or “in” the United States and therefore as being deemed subject to the jurisdictions of those two political constructs called “states” in international law. What we seldom express, however, is the more profound point that those two Western European political constructs are on and in Turtle Island, as North America is traditionally known to the Original Nations of Turtle Island.

For far too long we have been conditioned to seemingly accept the idea that Indian nations are subject to the political and legal jurisdiction of the United States and Canada. We have not spent much time at all developing the viewpoint that originally free Indian nations are still rightfully free and that those two political constructs of European origin are in and on Turtle Island. To even express such an idea seems mad because of the ingrained conditioning we have received from a very young age that we as Indigenous nations and peoples are unquestioningly subject to the dictates of dominating societies.

In his amazing book Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law (2004), Professor Antony Anghie argues that international law is a product of the colonial confrontation between European and non-European peoples. International law is, in other words, an outgrowth of imperialism, and thus was conceived and operates on the basis of a structure of domination and subordination. In the book’s Foreword, the eminent scholar James Crawford refers to the “relations between civilizations and peoples” as “relations of domination.”"

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: ‘Canada’ and the ‘United States’ Are in Turtle Island (Indian Country Today 9/30)

Related Stories:
Steven Newcomb: Dominance at core of federal Indian laws (9/12)
Steven Newcomb: Greed motivated taking of indigenous lands (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: University holding onto Kumeyaay ancestors (8/22)

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