Categorical Divisions: The Hostilities Between “Indigenous” and “Immigrants” As a ‘State Effect'

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 5:00 PM
Room: F201
Oral Presentation
Nandita SHARMA , Sociology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Nationalist politics has increasingly become one of the main ways that people constituted as “natives” have attempted to overthrow colonial domination. Together, the state language of “sovereignty” and the national language of “self-determination” have shaped notions of identity and have tended to anchor such identities to particular places. All this has figured into how contemporary “indigenous” nationalisms have staked their claim to a place within a global system of national states. Over time, a stark delineation between “Natives” and “non-Natives” has been asserted. Today, a growing number of scholars who identify as indigenous, as well as those who position themselves as their allies, portray all “non-Natives” as colonizers. In this paper, I examine how a nationalized politics of decolonization has come to mark “Natives” and “migrants” as mutually antagonistic positions. Focusing on such politics of place in the national states of Canada and the United States, I question the conflation of processes of colonization with those of migration. I historicize such politics within their social, political, economic context by looking at the continuation between colonial state practices and contemporary indigenous nationalisms. I also contrast contemporary indigenous nationalisms with other political strategies of decolonization, particularly politics that have refused the differentiations of “race” and “nation” and the Leviathan of national sovereignty.