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8 Sep

Critically Reflection of The Canary Effect – NO PLAGIARISM

Watch the movie The Canary Effect (Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman, 2006, 60 min) which you can find a free version on YouTube, and write a reflective essay with two reading material.Settler Colonialism Primer
Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & SocietyVol. 1, No. 1, 2012, pp. 1-402012 E. Tuck & K.W. Yang This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0), permitting all noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.Decolonization is not a metaphorEve TuckState University of New York at New PaltzK. Wayne YangUniversity of California, San DiegoAbstractOur goal in this article is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization.Decolonization brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor forother things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption ofdecolonizing discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasingnumber of calls to “decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or, “decolonizestudent thinking”, turns decolonization into a metaphor. As important as their goals may be,social justice, critical methodologies, or approaches that decenter settler perspectives haveobjectives that may be incommensurable with decolonization. Because settler colonialism is builtupon an entangled triad structure of settler-native-slave, the decolonial desires of white, nonwhite, immigrant, postcolonial, and oppressed people, can similarly be entangled in resettlement,reoccupation, and reinhabitation that actually further settler colonialism. The metaphorization ofdecolonization makes possible a set of evasions, or “settler moves to innocence”, thatproblematically attempt to reconcile settler guilt and complicity, and rescue settler futurity. Inthis article, we analyze multiple settler moves towards innocence in order to forward “an ethic ofincommensurability” that recognizes what is distinct and what is sovereign for project(s) ofdecolonization in relation to human and civil rights based social justice projects. We also point tounsettling themes within transnational/Third World decolonizations, abolition, and critical spaceplace pedagogies, which challenge the coalescence of social justice endeavors, making room formore meaningful potential alliances.Keywords: decolonization, settler colonialism, settler moves to innocence, incommensurability,Indigenous land, decolonizing education2 E. Tuck & K.W. YangDecolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a programof complete disorder. But it cannot come as a result of magical practices, nor of a naturalshock, nor of a friendly understanding. Decolonization, as we know, is a historicalprocess: that is to say it cannot be understood, it cannot become intelligible nor clear toitself except in the exact measure that we can discern the movements which give ithistorical form and content.-Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1963, p. 36Let us admit it, the settler knows perfectly well that no phraseology can be a substitutefor reality.-Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1963, p. 45IntroductionFor the past several years we have been working, in our writing and teaching, to bring attentionto how settler colonialism has shaped schooling and educational research in the United Statesand other settler colonial nation-states. These are two distinct but overlapping tasks, the firstconcerned with how the invisibilized dynamics of settler colonialism mark the organization,governance, curricula, and assessment of compulsory learning, the other concerned with howsettler perspectives and worldviews get to count as knowledge and research and how theseperspectives – repackaged as data and findings – are activated in order to rationalize and maintainunfair social structures. We are doing this work alongside many others who – somewhatrelentlessly, in writings, meetings, courses, and activism – don’t allow the real and symbolicviolences of settler colonialism to be overlooked.Alongside this work, we have been thinking about what decolonization means, what itwants and requires. One trend we have noticed, with growing apprehension, is the ease withwhich the language of decolonization has been superficially adopted into education and othersocial sciences, supplanting prior ways of talking about social justice, critical methodologies, orapproaches which decenter settler perspectives. Decolonization, which we assert is a distinctproject from other civil and human rights-based social justice projects, is far too often subsumedinto the directives of these projects, with no regard for how decolonization wants somethingdifferent than those forms of justice. Settler scholars swap out prior civil and human rights basedterms, seemingly to signal both an awareness of the significance of Indigenous and decolonizingtheorizations of schooling and educational research, and to include Indigenous peoples on the listof considerations – as an additional special (ethnic) group or class. At a conference oneducational research, it is not uncommon to hear speakers refer, almost casually, to the need to“decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or “decolonize student thinking.” Yet,we have observed a startling number of these discussions make no mention of IndigenousDecolonization is not a metaphor 3peoples, our/their1 struggles for the recognition of our/their sovereignty, or the contributions ofIndigenous intellectuals and activists to theories and frameworks of decolonization. Further,there is often little recognition given to the immediate context of settler colonialism on the NorthAmerican lands where many of these conferences take place.Of course, dressing up in the language of decolonization is not as offensive as “Navajoprint” underwear sold at a clothing chain store (Gaynor, 2012) and other appropriations ofIndigenous cultures and materials that occur so frequently. Yet, this kind of inclusion is a form ofenclosure, dangerous in how it domesticates decolonization. It is also a foreclosure, limiting inhow it recapitulates dominant theories of social change. On the occasion of the inaugural issue ofDecolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society, we want to be sure to clarify thatdecolonization is not a metaphor. When metaphor invades decolonization, it kills the verypossibility of decolonization; it recenters whiteness, it resettles theory, it extends innocence tothe settler, it entertains a settler future. Decolonize (a verb) and decolonization (a noun) cannoteasily be grafted onto pre-existing discourses/frameworks, even if they are critical, even if theyare anti-racist, even if they are justice frameworks. The easy absorption, adoption, andtransposing of decolonization is yet another form of settler appropriation. When we write aboutdecolonization, we are not offering it as a metaphor; it is not an approximation of otherexperiences of oppression. Decolonization is not a swappable term for other things we want to doto improve our societies and schools. Decolonization doesn’t have a synonym.Our goal in this essay is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization – whatis unsettling and what should be unsettling. Clearly, we are advocates for the analysis of settlercolonialism within education and education research and we position the work of Indigenousthinkers as central in unlocking the confounding aspects of public schooling. We, at least in part,want others to join us in these efforts, so that settler colonial structuring and Indigenous critiquesof that structuring are no longer rendered invisible. Yet, this joining cannot be too easy, tooopen, too settled. Solidarity is an uneasy, reserved, and unsettled matter that neither reconcilespresent grievances nor forecloses future conflict. There are parts of the decolonization projectthat are not easily absorbed by human rights or civil rights based approaches to educationalequity. In this essay, we think about what decolonization wants.There is a long and bumbled history of non-Indigenous peoples making moves toalleviate the impacts of colonization. The too-easy adoption of decolonizing discourse (makingdecolonization a metaphor) is just one part of that history and it taps into pre-existing tropes thatget in the way of more meaningful potential alliances. We think of the enactment of these tropesas a series of moves to innocence (Malwhinney, 1998), which problematically attempt toreconcile settler guilt and complicity, and rescue settler futurity. Here, to explain whydecolonization is and requires more than a metaphor, we discuss some of these moves toinnocence:1 As an Indigenous scholar and a settler/trespasser/scholar writing together, we have used forward slashes to reflectour discrepant positionings in our pronouns throughout this essay.4 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangi. Settler nativismii. Fantasizing adoptioniii. Colonial equivocationiv. Conscientizationv. At risk-ing / Asterisk-ing Indigenous peoplesvi. Re-occupation and urban homesteadingSuch moves ultimately represent settler fantasies of easier paths to reconciliation. Actually, weargue, attending to what is irreconcilable within settler colonial relations and what isincommensurable between decolonizing projects and other social justice projects will help toreduce the frustration of attempts at solidarity; but the attention won’t get anyone off the hookfrom the hard, unsettling work of decolonization. Thus, we also include a discussion ofinterruptions that unsettle innocence and recognize incommensurability.The set of settler colonial relationsGenerally speaking, postcolonial theories and theories of coloniality attend to two forms ofcolonialism2. External colonialism (also called exogenous or exploitation colonization) denotesthe expropriation of fragments of Indigenous worlds, animals, plants and human beings,extracting them in order to transport them to – and build the wealth, the privilege, or feed theappetites of – the colonizers, who get marked as the first world. This includes so-thought‘historic’ examples such as opium, spices, tea, sugar, and tobacco, the extraction of whichcontinues to fuel colonial efforts. This form of colonialism also includes the feeding ofcontemporary appetites for diamonds, fish, water, oil, humans turned workers, genetic material,cadmium and other essential minerals for high tech devices. External colonialism often requires asubset of activities properly called military colonialism – the creation of war fronts/frontiersagainst enemies to be conquered, and the enlistment of foreign land, resources, and people intomilitary operations. In external colonialism, all things Native become recast as ‘naturalresources’ – bodies and earth for war, bodies and earth for chattel.The other form of colonialism that is attended to by postcolonial theories and theories ofcoloniality is internal colonialism, the biopolitical and geopolitical management of people, land,flora and fauna within the “domestic” borders of the imperial nation. This involves the use of2 Colonialism is not just a symptom of capitalism. Socialist and communist empires have also been settler empires(e.g. Chinese colonialism in Tibet). “In other words,” writes Sandy Grande, “both Marxists and capitalists view landand natural resources as commodities to be exploited, in the first instance, by capitalists for personal gain, and in thesecond by Marxists for the good of all” (2004, p.27). Capitalism and the state are technologies of colonialism,developed over time to further colonial projects. Racism is an invention of colonialism (Silva, 2007). The currentcolonial era goes back to 1492, when colonial imaginary goes global.Decolonization is not a metaphor 5particularized modes of control – prisons, ghettos, minoritizing, schooling, policing – to ensurethe ascendancy of a nation and its white3 elite. These modes of control, imprisonment, andinvoluntary transport of the human beings across borders – ghettos, their policing, their economicdivestiture, and their dislocatability – are at work to authorize the metropole and conscribe herperiphery. Strategies of internal colonialism, such as segregation, divestment, surveillance, andcriminalization, are both structural and interpersonal.Our intention in this descriptive exercise is not be exhaustive, or even inarguable; instead,we wish to emphasize that (a) decolonization will take a different shape in each of these contexts– though they can overlap4 – and that (b) neither external nor internal colonialism adequatelydescribe the form of colonialism which operates in the United States or other nation-states inwhich the colonizer comes to stay. Settler colonialism operates through internal/external colonialmodes simultaneously because there is no spatial separation between metropole and colony. Forexample, in the United States, many Indigenous peoples have been forcibly removed from theirhomelands onto reservations, indentured, and abducted into state custody, signaling the form ofcolonization as simultaneously internal (via boarding schools and other biopolitical modes ofcontrol) and external (via uranium mining on Indigenous land in the US Southwest and oilextraction on Indigenous land in Alaska) with a frontier (the US military still nicknames allenemy territory “Indian Country”). The horizons of the settler colonial nation-state are total andrequire a mode of total appropriation of Indigenous life and land, rather than the selectiveexpropriation of profit-producing fragments.Settler colonialism is different from other forms of colonialism in that settlers come withthe intention of making a new home on the land, a homemaking that insists on settler sovereigntyover all things in their new domain. Thus, relying solely on postcolonial literatures or theories ofcoloniality that ignore settler colonialism will not help to envision the shape that decolonizationmust take in settler colonial contexts. Within settler colonialism, the most important concern island/water/air/subterranean earth (land, for shorthand, in this article.) Land is what is mostvaluable, contested, required. This is both because the settlers make Indigenous land their newhome and source of capital, and also because the disruption of Indigenous relationships to landrepresents a profound epistemic, ontological, cosmological violence. This violence is nottemporally contained in the arrival of the settler but is reasserted each day of occupation. This iswhy Patrick Wolfe (1999) emphasizes that settler colonialism is a structure and not an event. Inthe process of settler colonialism, land is remade into property and human relationships to landare restricted to the relationship of the owner to his property. Epistemological, ontological, andcosmological relationships to land are interred, indeed made pre-modern and backward. Madesavage.3 In using terms as “white” and “whiteness”, we are acknowledging that whiteness extends beyond phenotype.4 We don’t treat internal/external as a taxonomy of colonialisms. They describe two operative modes of colonialism.The modes can overlap, reinforce, and contradict one another, and do so through particular legal, social, economicand political processes that are context specific.6 E. Tuck & K.W. YangIn order for the settlers to make a place their home, they must destroy and disappear theIndigenous peoples that live there. Indigenous peoples are those who have creation stories, notcolonization stories, about how we/they came to be in a particular place – indeed how we/theycame to be a place. Our/their relationships to land comprise our/their epistemologies, ontologies,and cosmologies. For the settlers, Indigenous peoples are in the way and, in the destruction ofIndigenous peoples, Indigenous communities, and over time and through law and policy,Indigenous peoples’ claims to land under settler regimes, land is recast as property and as aresource. Indigenous peoples must be erased, must be made into ghosts (Tuck and Ree,forthcoming).At the same time, settler colonialism involves the subjugation and forced labor of chattelslaves5, whose bodies and lives become the property, and who are kept landless. Slavery insettler colonial contexts is distinct from other forms of indenture whereby excess labor isextracted from persons. First, chattels are commodities of labor and therefore it is the slave’sperson that is the excess. Second, unlike workers who may aspire to own land, the slave’s verypresence on the land is already an excess that must be dis-located. Thus, the slave is a desirablecommodity but the person underneath is imprisonable, punishable, and murderable. The violenceof keeping/killing the chattel slave makes them deathlike monsters in the settler imagination;they are reconfigured/disfigured as the threat, the razor’s edge of safety and terror.The settler, if known by his actions and how he justifies them, sees himself as holdingdominion over the earth and its flora and fauna, as the anthropocentric normal, and as moredeveloped, more human, more deserving than other groups or species. The settler is making anew “home” and that home is rooted in a homesteading worldview where the wild land and wildpeople were made for his benefit. He can only make his identity as a settler by making the landproduce, and produce excessively, because “civilization” is defined as production in excess of the“natural” world (i.e. in excess of the sustainable production already present in the Indigenousworld). In order for excess production, he needs excess labor, which he cannot provide himself.The chattel slave serves as that excess labor, labor that can never be paid because payment wouldhave to be in the form of property (land). The settler’s wealth is land, or a fungible version of it,and so payment for labor is impossible.6 The settler positions himself as both superior andnormal; the settler is natural, whereas the Indigenous inhabitant and the chattel slave areunnatural, even supernatural.Settlers are not immigrants. Immigrants are beholden to the Indigenous laws andepistemologies of the lands they migrate to. Settlers become the law, supplanting Indigenous5 As observed by Erica Neeganagwedgin (2012), these two groups are not always distinct. Neeganagwedginpresents a history of the enslavement of Indigenous peoples in Canada as chattel slaves. In California, Mexico, andthe U.S. Southwest under the Spanish mission system, Indigenous people were removed from their land and alsomade into chattel slaves. Under U.S. colonization, California law stipulated that Indians could be murdered and/orindentured by any “person” (white, propertied, citizen). These laws remained in effect until 1937.6 See Kate McCoy (forthcoming) on settler crises in early Jamestown, Virginia to pay indentured European laborwith land.Decolonization is not a metaphor 7laws and epistemologies. Therefore, settler nations are not immigrant nations (See also A.J.Barker, 2009).Not unique, the United States, as a settler colonial nation-state, also operates as an empire– utilizing external forms and internal forms of colonization simultaneous to the settler colonialproject. This means, and this is perplexing to some, that dispossessed people are brought ontoseized Indigenous land through other colonial projects. Other colonial projects includeenslavement, as discussed, but also military recruitment, low-wage and high-wage laborrecruitment (such as agricultural workers and overseas-trained engineers), anddisplacement/migration (such as the coerced immigration from nations torn by U.S. wars ordevastated by U.S. economic policy). In this set of settler colonial relations, colonial subjectswho are displaced by external colonialism, as well as racialized and minoritized by internalcolonialism, still occupy and settle stolen Indigenous land. Settlers are diverse, not just of whiteEuropean descent, and include people of color, even from other colonial contexts. This tightlywound set of conditions and racialized, globalized relations exponentially complicates what ismeant by decolonization, and by solidarity, against settler colonial forces.Decolonization in exploitative colonial situations could involve the seizing of imperialwealth by the postcolonial subject. In settler colonial situations, seizing imperial wealth isinextricably tied to settlement and re-invasion. Likewise, the promise of integration and civilrights is predicated on securing a share of a settler-appropriated wealth (as well as expropriated‘third-world’ wealth). Decolonization in a settler context is fraught because empire, settlement,and internal colony have no spatial separation. Each of these features of settler colonialism in theUS context – empire, settlement, and internal colony – make it a site of contradictory decolonialdesires7.Decolonization as metaphor allows people to equivocate these contradictory decolonialdesires because it turns decolonization into an empty signifier to be filled by any track towardsliberation. In reality, the tracks walk all over land/people in settler contexts. Though the detailsare not fixed or agreed upon, in our view, decolonization in the settler colonial context mustinvolve the repatriation of land simultaneous to the recognition of how land and relations to landhave always already been differently understood and enacted; that is, all of the land, and not justsymbolically. This is precisely why decolonization is necessarily unsettling, especially acrosslines of solidarity. “Decolonization never takes place unnoticed” (Fanon, 1963, p. 36). Settlercolonialism and its decolonization implicates and unsettles everyone.7 Decolonization is further fraught because, although the setter-native-slave triad structures settler colonialism, thisdoes not mean that settler, native, and slave are analogs that can be used to describe corresponding identities,structural locations, worldviews, and behaviors. Nor do they mutually constitute one another. For example,Indigenous is an identity independent of the triad, and also an ascribed structural location within the triad. Chattelslave is an ascribed structural position, but not an identity. Settler describes a set of behaviors, as well as a structurallocation, but is eschewed as an identity.8 E. Tuck & K.W. YangPlaying Indian and the erasure of Indigenous peoplesRecently in a symposium on the significance of Liberal Arts education in the United States, Evepresented an argument that Liberal Arts education has historically excluded any attention to oranalysis of settler colonialism. This, Eve posited, makes Liberal Arts education complicit in theproject of settler colonialism and, more so, has rendered the truer project of Liberal Artseducation something like trying to make the settler indigenous to the land he occupies. Theattendees were titillated by this idea, nodding and murmuring in approval and it was then thatEve realized that she was trying to say something incommensurable with what they expected herto say. She was completely misunderstood. Many in the audience heard this observation: that thework of Liberal Arts education is in part to teach settlers to be indigenous, as somethingadmirable, worthwhile, something wholesome, not as a problematic point of evidence about thereach of the settler colonial erasure.Philip Deloria (1998) explores how and why the settler wants to be made indigenous,even if only through disguise, or other forms of playing Indian. Playing Indian is a powerful U.S.pastime, from the Boston Tea Party, to fraternal organizations, to new age trends, to even thoseaforementioned Native print underwear. Deloria maintains that, “From the colonial period to thepresent, the Indian has skulked in and out of the most important stories various Americans havetold about themselves” (p. 5).The indeterminacy of American identities stems, in part, from the nation’s inabilityto deal with Indian people. Americans wanted to feel a natural affinity with thecontinent, and it was Indians who could teach them such aboriginal closeness.Yet, in order to control the landscape they had to destroy the original inhabitants.(Deloria, 1998, p.5)L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz) famously asserted in 1890 that the safety ofwhite settlers was only guaranteed by the “total annihilation of the few remaining Indians” (asquoted in Hastings, 2007). D.H. Lawrence, reading James Fenimore Cooper (discussed at lengthlater in this article), Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Henry David Thoreau,Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and others for his Studies in Classic American Literature(1924), describes Americans’ fascination with Indigeneity as one of simultaneous desire andrepulsion (Deloria, 1998).“No place,” Lawrence observed, “exerts its full influence upon a newcomer untilthe old inhabitant is dead or absorbed.” Lawrence argued that in order to meet the“demon of the continent” head on and this finalize the “unexpressed spirit ofAmerica,” white Americans needed either to destroy Indians of assimilate theminto a white American world…both aimed at making Indians vanish from thelandscape. (Lawrence, as quoted in Deloria, 1998, p. 4).Decolonization is not a metaphor 9Everything within a settler colonial society strains to destroy or assimilate the Native inorder to disappear them from the land – this is how a society can have multiple simultaneous andconflicting messages about Indigenous peoples, such as all Indians are dead, located in farawayreservations, that contemporary Indigenous people are less indigenous than prior generations,and that all Americans are a “little bit Indian.” These desires to erase – to let time do its thing andwait for the older form of living to die out, or to even help speed things along (euthanize)because the death of pre-modern ways of life is thought to be inevitable – these are all desires foranother kind of resolve to the colonial situation, resolved through the absolute and totaldestruction or assimilation of original inhabitants.Numerous scholars have observed that Indigeneity prompts multiple forms of settleranxiety, even if only because the presence of Indigenous peoples – who make a priori claims toland and ways of being – is a constant reminder that the settler colonial project is incomplete(Fanon, 1963; Vine Deloria, 1988; Grande, 2004; Bruyneel, 2007). The easy adoption ofdecolonization as a metaphor (and nothing else) is a form of this anxiety, because it is apremature attempt at reconciliation. The absorption of decolonization by settler social justiceframeworks is one way the settler, disturbed by her own settler status, tries to escape or containthe unbearable searchlight of complicity, of having harmed others just by being one’s self. Thedesire to reconcile is just as relentless as the desire to disappear the Native; it is a desire to nothave to deal with this (Indian) problem anymore.Settler moves to innocenceWe observe that another component of a desire to play Indian is a settler desire to be madeinnocent, to find some mercy or relief in face of the relentlessness of settler guilt and haunting(see Tuck and Ree, forthcoming, on mercy and haunting). Directly and indirectly benefittingfrom the erasure and assimilation of Indigenous peoples is a difficult reality for settlers to accept.The weight of this reality is uncomfortable; the misery of guilt makes one hurry toward anyreprieve. In her 1998 Master’s thesis, Janet Mawhinney analyzed the ways in which white peoplemaintained and (re)produced white privilege in self-defined anti-racist settings andorganizations.8 She examined the role of storytelling and self-confession – which serves to equatestories of personal exclusion with stories of structural racism and exclusion – and what she terms‘moves to innocence,’ or “strategies to remove involvement in and culpability for systems ofdomination” (p. 17). Mawhinney builds upon Mary Louise Fellows and Sherene Razack’s (1998)conceptualization of, ‘the race to innocence’, “the process through which a woman comes tobelieve her own claim of subordination is the most urgent, and that she is unimplicated in thesubordination of other women” (p. 335).Mawhinney’s thesis theorizes the self-positioning of white people as simultaneously theoppressed and never an oppressor, and as having an absence of experience of oppressive power8 Thank you to Neoma Mullens for introducing Eve to Mawhinney’s concept of moves to innocence.10 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangrelations (p. 100). This simultaneous self-positioning afforded white people in variouspurportedly anti-racist settings to say to people of color, “I don’t experience the problems youdo, so I don’t think about it,” and “tell me what to do, you’re the experts here” (p. 103). “Thecommonsense appeal of such statements,” Malwhinney observes, enables white speakers to“utter them sanguine in [their] appearance of equanimity, is rooted in the normalization of aliberal analysis of power relations” (ibid.).In the discussion that follows, we will do some work to identify and argue against a seriesof what we call ‘settler moves to innocence’. Settler moves to innocence are those strategies orpositionings that attempt to relieve the settler of feelings of guilt or responsibility without givingup land or power or privilege, without having to change much at all. In fact, settler scholars maygain professional kudos or a boost in their reputations for being so sensitive or self-aware. Yetsettler moves to innocence are hollow, they only serve the settler. This discussion will likelycause discomfort in our settler readers, may embarrass you/us or make us/you feel implicated.Because of the racialized flights and flows of settler colonial empire described above, settlers arediverse – there are white settlers and brown settlers, and peoples in both groups make moves toinnocence that attempt to deny and deflect their own complicity in settler colonialism. When itmakes sense to do so, we attend to moves to innocence enacted differently by white people andby brown and Black people.In describing settler moves to innocence, our goal is to provide a framework of excuses,distractions, and diversions from decolonization. We discuss some of the moves to innocence atgreater length than others, mostly because some require less explanation and because others aremore central to our initial argument for the demetaphorization of decolonization. We provide thisframework so that we can be more impatient with each other, less likely to accept gestures andhalf-steps, and more willing to press for acts which unsettle innocence, which we discuss in thefinal section of this article.Moves to innocence I: Settler nativismIn this move to innocence, settlers locate or invent a long-lost ancestor who is rumored to havehad “Indian blood,” and they use this claim to mark themselves as blameless in the attemptederadications of Indigenous peoples. There are numerous examples of public figures in the UnitedStates who “remember” a distant Native ancestor, including Nancy Reagan (who is said to be adescendant of Pocahontas) and, more recently, Elizabeth Warren9 and many others, illustratinghow commonplace settler nativism is. Vine Deloria Jr. discusses what he calls the Indiangrandmother complex in the following account from Custer Died for Your Sins:9 See Francie Latour’s interview (June 1 2012) with Kim Tallbear for more information on the Elizabeth Warrenexample. In the interview, Tallbear asserts that Warren’s romanticized claims and the accusations of fraud areevidence of ways in which people in the U.S. misunderstand Native American identity. Tallbear insists that tounderstand Native American identity, “you need to get outside of that binary, one-drop framework.”Decolonization is not a metaphor 11During my three years as Executive Director of the National Congress ofAmerican Indians it was a rare day when some white [person] didn’t visit myoffice and proudly proclaim that he or she was of Indian descent…At times I became quite defensive about being a Sioux when these white peoplehad a pedigree that was so much more respectable than mine. But eventually Icame to understand their need to identify as partially Indian and did not resentthem. I would confirm their wildest stories about their Indian ancestry and wouldadd a few tales of my own hoping that they would be able to accept themselvessomeday and leave us alone.Whites claiming Indian blood generally tend to reinforce mythical beliefs aboutIndians. All but one person I met who claimed Indian blood claimed it on theirgrandmother’s side. I once did a projection backward and discovered that evidentlymost tribes were entirely female for the first three hundred years of whiteoccupation. No one, it seemed, wanted to claim a male Indian as a forebear.It doesn’t take much insight into racial attitudes to understand the real meaning ofthe Indian-grandmother complex that plagues certain white [people]. A maleancestor has too much of the aura of the savage warrior, the unknown primitive,the instinctive animal, to make him a respectable member of the family tree. But ayoung Indian princess? Ah, there was royalty for the taking. Somehow the whitewas linked with a noble house of gentility and culture if his grandmother was anIndian princess who ran away with an intrepid pioneer…While a real Indian grandmother is probably the nicest thing that could happen to achild, why is a remote Indian princess grandmother so necessary for many white[people]? Is it because they are afraid of being classed as foreigners? Do they needsome blood tie with the frontier and its dangers in order to experience what itmeans to be an American? Or is it an attempt to avoid facing the guilt they bear forthe treatment of the Indians? (1988, p. 2-4)Settler nativism, or what Vine Deloria Jr. calls the Indian-grandmother complex, is a settlermove to innocence because it is an attempt to deflect a settler identity, while continuing to enjoysettler privilege and occupying stolen land. Deloria observes that settler nativism is gendered andconsiders the reasons a storied Indian grandmother might have more appeal than an Indiangrandfather. On one level, it can be expected that many settlers have an ancestor who wasIndigenous and/or who was a chattel slave. This is precisely the habit of settler colonialism,which pushes humans into other human communities; strategies of rape and sexual violence, andalso the ordinary attractions of human relationships, ensure that settlers have Indigenous andchattel slave ancestors.Further, though race is a social construct, Indigenous peoples and chattel slaves,particularly slaves from the continent of Africa, were/are racialized differently in ways thatsupport/ed the logics and aims of settler colonialism (the erasure of the Indigenous person and12 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangthe capture and containment of the slave). “Indians and Black people in the US have beenracialized in opposing ways that reflect their antithetical roles in the formation of US society,”Patrick Wolfe (2006) explains:Black people’s enslavement produced an inclusive taxonomy that automaticallyenslaved the offspring of a slave and any other parent. In the wake of slavery, thistaxonomy became fully racialized in the “one-drop rule,” whereby any amount ofAfrican ancestry, no matter how remote, and regardless of phenotypicalappearance, makes a person Black. (p. 387)Kim Tallbear argues that the one-drop rule dominates understandings of race in the United Statesand, so, most people in the US have not been able to understand Indigenous identity (Latour,2012). Through the one-drop rule, blackness in settler colonial contexts is expansive, ensuringthat a slave/criminal status will be inherited by an expanding number of ‘black’ descendants.Yet, Indigenous peoples have been racialized in a profoundly different way. Native Americanness10 is subtractive: Native Americans are constructed to become fewer in number and lessNative, but never exactly white, over time. Our/their status as Indigenous peoples/firstinhabitants is the basis of our/their land claims and the goal of settler colonialism is to diminishclaims to land over generations (or sooner, if possible). That is, Native American is aracialization that portrays contemporary Indigenous generations to be less authentic, lessIndigenous than every prior generation in order to ultimately phase out Indigenous claims to landand usher in settler claims to property. This is primarily done through blood quantum registriesand policies, which were forced on Indigenous nations and communities and, in some cases,have overshadowed former ways of determining tribal membership.Wolfe (2006) explains:For Indians, in stark contrast, non-Indian ancestry compromised their indigeneity,producing “half-breeds,” a regime that persists in the form of blood quantumregulations. As opposed to enslaved people, whose reproduction augmented theirowners’ wealth, Indigenous people obstructed settlers’ access to land, so theirincrease was counterproductive. In this way, the restrictive racial classification ofIndians straightforwardly furthered the logic of elimination. (p. 387)The racializations of Indigenous people and Black people in the US settler colonial nation-stateare geared to ensure the ascendancy of white settlers as the true and rightful owners andoccupiers of the land.In the national mythologies of such societies, it is believed that white people camefirst and that it is they who principally developed the land; Aboriginal peoples arepresumed to be mostly dead or assimilated. European settlers thus become the10 Native American, then, can be a signifier for how Indigenous peoples (over 500 federally recognized tribes andnations in the U.S. alone) are racialized into one vanishing race in the U.S. settler-colonial context.Decolonization is not a metaphor 13original inhabitants and the group most entitled to the fruits of citizenship.”(Razack, 2002, p. 1-2; emphasis original.)In the racialization of whiteness, blood quantum rules are reversed so that white people can staywhite, yet claim descendance from an Indian grandmother. In 1924, the Virginia legislaturepassed the Racial Integrity Act, which enforced the one-drop rule except for white people whoclaimed a distant Indian grandmother – the result of strong lobbying from the aristocratic “FirstFamilies of Virginia” who all claim to have descended from Pocahontas (including NancyReagan, born in 1921). Known as the Pocahontas Exception, this loophole allowed thousands ofwhite people to claim Indian ancestry, while actual Indigenous people were reclassified as“colored” and disappeared off the public record11.Settler nativism, through the claiming of a long-lost ancestor, invests in these specificracializations of Indigenous people and Black people, and disbelieves the sovereign authority ofIndigenous nations to determine tribal membership. Dakota scholar Kim Tallbear (in aninterview on the recent Elizabeth Warren example), provides an account that echoes and updatesDeloria’s account. Speaking to the many versions of settler nativism she has encountered, inwhich people say,“My great-great grandmother was an Indian princess.” [or] “I’m descended fromPocohantas.” What Elizabeth Warren said about the high cheekbones, I’ve had somany people from across the political spectrum say things that strange or stranger.And my point is, maybe you do have some remote ancestor. So what? You don’tjust get to decide you’re Cherokee if the community does not recognize you assuch (as quoted in Latour, 2012).Ancestry is different from tribal membership; Indigenous identity and tribal membership arequestions that Indigenous communities alone have the right to struggle over and define, not DNAtests, heritage websites, and certainly not the settler state. Settler nativism is about imagining anIndian past and a settler future; in contrast, tribal sovereignty has provided for an Indigenouspresent and various Indigenous intellectuals theorize decolonization as Native futures without asettler state.Moves to innocence II: Settler adoption fantasiesDescribing acts of passing, Sara Ahmed (2000) asserts the importance of being able to replace“the stranger”, or take the place of the other, in the consolidation and (re)affirmation of whiteidentity. To “become without becoming,” is to reproduce “the other as ‘not-I’ within rather thanbeyond the structure of the ‘I’” (p. 132). Sherene Razack, reading Ahmed, tells us that11 The 1940 Census only recorded 198 Indians in the State of Virginia. 6 out of 8 tribes in Virginia are currentlyunable to obtain federal recognition because of the racial erasure under the Racial Integrity Act (Fiske, 2004).14 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangappropriating the other’s pain occurs when, “we think we are recognizing not only the other’spain but his or her difference. Difference becomes the conduit of identification in much the sameway as pain does” (Razack, 2007, p. 379). Discussing the film Dances with Wolves (a cinematicfiction of a Union soldier in the post-bellum Civil War era who befriends and protects the LakotaSioux, who are represented as a noble, dying race), Ahmed critically engages the narrative, inwhich a white man (played by Kevin Costner) comes to respect the Sioux,to the point of being able to dance their dances…the white man in this example isable to ‘to become without becoming’ (Ahmed, 2000, p. 32)…He alone istransformed through his encounter with the Sioux, while they remain themechanism for his transformation. He becomes the authentic knower while theyremain what is to be known and consumed, and spit out again, as good Indianswho confirm the white man’s position as hero of the story…the Sioux remainobjects, while Kevin Costner is able to go anywhere and be anything. (Ahmed’sanalysis, as discussed by Razack, 2007, p. 379).For the purposes of this article, we locate the desire to become without becoming [Indian]within settler adoption fantasies. These fantasies can mean the adoption of Indigenous practicesand knowledge, but more, refer to those narratives in the settler colonial imagination in whichthe Native (understanding that he is becoming extinct) hands over his land, his claim to the land,his very Indian-ness to the settler for safe-keeping. This is a fantasy that is invested in a settlerfuturity and dependent on the foreclosure of an Indigenous futurity.Settler adoption fantasies are longstanding narratives in the United States, fueled by rareinstances of ceremonial “adoptions”, from John Smith’s adoption in 1607 by Powhatan(Pocahontas’ father), to Lewis Henry Morgan’s adoption in 1847 by Seneca member JimmyJohnson, to the recent adoption of actor Johnny Depp by the family of LaDonna Harris, aComanche woman and social activist. As sovereign nations, tribes make decisions about who isconsidered a member, so our interest is not in whether adoptions are appropriate or legitimate.Rather, because the prevalence of the adoption narrative in American literature, film, television,holidays and history books far exceeds the actual occurrences of adoptions, we are interested inhow this narrative spins a fantasy that an individual settler can become innocent, indeed heroicand indigenized, against a backdrop of national guilt. The adoption fantasy is the mythical trumpcard desired by critical settlers who feel remorse about settler colonialism, one that absolvesthem from the inheritance of settler crimes and that bequeaths a new inheritance of Native-nessand claims to land (which is a reaffirmation of what the settler project has been all along).To more fully explain, we turn to perhaps the most influential version of the adoptionnarrative, penned by James Fenimore Cooper in 1823-1841. James Fenimore, son of “that geniusin land speculation William Cooper” (Butterfield, 1954, p. 374), grew up in Six Nations territorythat his father had grabbed and named after himself as Cooperstown, New York. In theseIroquois lakes, forests, and hills, James Fenimore, and later his daughter, Susan, imagined forthemselves frontier romances full of tragic Indians, inventive and compassionate settlers, andvirginal white/Indian women in virgin wilderness. Cooper’s five-book series, collectively calledDecolonization is not a metaphor 15the Leatherstocking Tales, are foundational in the emergence of American literature. Melvillecalled Cooper “our national author” and it was no exaggeration. His were the most widely readnovels of the time and, in the age of the printing press, this meant they were the most circulatedbooks in a U.S. print-based popular culture. Mass print established national language andidentity, an “imagined community” (Anderson, 1991) from which emerges ‘America’ as a nationas opposed to just an assortment of former colonies. The Tales are credited with theconstructions of the vanishing Indian, the resourceful Frontiersman, and the degenerate Negro:the pivotal triad of archetypes that forms the basis for an American national literature.The Last of Mohicans is undoubtedly the most famous among the Tales and has beenremade12 into three separate television series in 1957, 1971, and 2004; an opera in 1977; a BBCradio adaptation in 1995; a 2007 Marvel comic book series; a stage drama in performance since2010; and eleven separate films spanning 1912 to 1992. In a sense, Last of the Mohicans is anational narrative that has never stopped being remade13.Across all five books, Cooper’s epic hero is Natty Bumppo, a white man ‘gone native’, athome in nature, praised for his wisdom and ways that are both Indian and white. In Last of theMohicans, this hero becomes the adopted son of Chingachgook, fictional chief of the fictionaltribe “Mohicans”, who renames Natty, Nathaniel Hawkeye – thus legitimating and completinghis Indigeneity. At the same time, Chingachgook conveniently fades into extinction. In a criticalsymbolic gesture, Chingachgook hands over his son Uncas – the last of the Mohicans – to theadopted, Indigenized white man, Hawkeye. When Uncas dies, the ramification is obvious:Hawkeye becomes without becoming the last of the Mohicans. You are now one of us, you arenow Native. “The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the red-men has not yetcome again” (Cooper 2000, p.407).Cooper’s books fantasize the founding and expansion of the U.S. settler nation byfictionalizing the period of 1740-1804, distilled into the single narrative of one man. The arc ofhis life stands in for the narrative of national development: the heroic settler Natty Bumppotransitions from British trapper to ‘native’ American, to prairie pioneer in the new Westernfrontier. Interestingly, the books themselves were written in reverse chronological order, startingwith the pioneer, going backwards in time. Through such historical hypnosis, settler literaturefabricates past lives, all the way back to an Indian past. ‘I am American’ becomes ‘I wasfrontiersman, was British, was Indian’.In this fantasy, Hawkeye is both adopter and adoptee. The act of adopting indigenousways makes him ‘deserving’ to be adopted by the Indigenous. Settler fantasies of adoptionalleviate the anxiety of settler un-belonging. He adopts the love of land and therefore thinks hebelongs to the land. He is a first environmentalist and sentimentalist, nostalgic for vanishing12 Tellingly, these remakes were produced in Canada, Britain, Germany and the United States.13 To include all the ‘remakes’ of the story in its different forms (e.g. the post 9/11 historical fiction Gangs of NewYork, the 2009 film Avatar, or the 2011 film The Descendants – also discussed in this article), would require anexhaustive and exhausting account well beyond the scope of this article.16 E. Tuck & K.W. YangNative ways. In today’s jargon, he could be thought of as an eco-activist, naturalist, and Indiansympathizer. At the same time, his cultural hybridity is what makes him more ‘fit’ to survive –the ultimate social Darwinism – better than both British and Indian; he is the mythical American.Hawkeye, hybrid white and Indian, becomes the reluctant but nonetheless rightful inheritor ofthe land and warden of its vanishing people.Similarly, the settler intellectual who hybridizes decolonial thought with Western criticaltraditions (metaphorizing decolonization), emerges superior to both Native intellectuals andcontinental theorists simultaneously. With his critical hawk-eye, he again sees the critique betterthan anyone and sees the world from a loftier station14. It is a fiction, just as Cooper’s Hawkeye,just as the adoption, just as the belonging.In addition to fabricating historical memory, the Tales serve to generate historicalamnesia. The books were published between 1823-1841, at the height of the Jacksonian periodwith the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and subsequent Trail of Tears 1831-1837. During this time,46,000 Native Americans were removed from their homelands, opening 25 million acres of landfor re-settlement. The Tales are not only silent on Indian Removal but narrate the Indian asvanishing in an earlier time frame, and thus Indigenous people are already dead prior to removal.Performing sympathy is critical to Cooper’s project of settler innocence. It is no accidentthat he is often read as a sympathizer to the Indians (despite the fact that he didn’t know any) incontrast to Jackson’s policies of removal and genocide. Cooper is cast as the ‘innocent’ father ofU.S. ideology, in contrast to the ‘bad white men’ of history.Performing suffering is also critical to Cooper’s project of settler innocence. Hawkeyetakes on the (imagined) demeanor of the vanishing Native – brooding, vengeful, protecting adying way of life, and unsuccessful in finding a mate and producing offspring. Thus sympathyand suffering are the tokens used to absorb the Native Other’s difference, coded as pain, the ‘notI’ into the ‘I’.The settler’s personal suffering feeds his fantasy of mutuality. The 2011 film, TheDescendants, is a modern remake of the adoption fantasy (blended with a healthy dose of settlernativism). George Clooney’s character, “King” is a haole hypo-descendant of the last survivingprincess of Hawai’i and reluctant inheritor of a massive expanse of land, the last wilderness onthe Island of Kauai. In contrast to his obnoxious settler cousins, he earns his privilege as anoverworked lawyer rather than relying on his unearned inheritance. Furthermore, Clooney’scharacter suffers – he is a dysfunctional father, heading a dysfunctional family, watching his wifewither away in a coma, learning that she cheated on him – and so he is somehow Hawaiian atheart. Because pain is the token for oppression, claims to pain then equate to claims of being aninnocent non-oppressor. By the film’s end, King goes against the wishes of his profiteeringsettler cousins and chooses to “keep” the land, reluctantly accepting that his is the steward of theland, a responsibility bequeathed upon him as an accident of birth. This is the denouement of14 His lament is that no one else can see what he sees, just as Hawkeye laments his failed attempts to rescue whitepeople from bad Indians, and good Indians from ignorant white people. He is the escapee from Plato’s Cave. Therest of us are stuck in the dark.Decolonization is not a metaphor 17reconciliation between the settler-I and the interiorized native-not-I within the settler. Sympathyand suffering are profoundly satisfying for settler cinema: The Descendants was nominated for 5Academy Awards and won for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2012.The beauty of this settler fantasy is that it adopts decolonization and aborts it in onegesture. Hawkeye adopts Uncas, who then conveniently dies. King adopts Hawai’i and negatesthe necessity for ea, Kanaka Maoli sovereignty. Decolonization is stillborn – rendered irrelevantbecause decolonization is already completed by the indigenized consciousness of the settler.Now ‘we’ are all Indian, all Hawaiian, and decolonization is no longer an issue. ‘Our’ onlyrecourse is to move forward, however regretfully, with ‘our’ settler future.In the unwritten decolonial version of Cooper’s story, Hawkeye would lose his land backto the Mohawk – the real people upon whose land Cooperstown was built and whose rivers,lakes, and forests Cooper mined for his frontier romances. Hawkeye would shoot his last arrow,or his last long-rifle shot, return his eagle feather, and would be renamed Natty Bumppo, settleron Native land. The story would end with the moment of this recognition. Unresolved are thequestions: Would a conversation follow after that between Native and the last settler? Would thesettler leave or just vanish? Would he ask to stay, and if he did, who would say yes? These arequestions that will be addressed at decolonization, and not a priori in order to appease anxietiesfor a settler future.Moves to innocence III: Colonial equivocationA more nuanced move to innocence is the homogenizing of various experiences of oppression ascolonization. Calling different groups ‘colonized’ without describing their relationship to settlercolonialism is an equivocation, “the fallacy of using a word in different senses at different stagesof the reasoning” (Etymonline, 2001). In particular, describing all struggles against imperialismas ‘decolonizing’ creates a convenient ambiguity between decolonization and social justice work,especially among people of color, queer people, and other groups minoritized by the settlernation-state. ‘We are all colonized,’ may be a true statement but is deceptively embracive andvague, its inference: ‘None of us are settlers.’ Equivocation, or calling everything by the samename, is a move towards innocence that is especially vogue in coalition politics among people ofcolor.People of color who enter/are brought into the settler colonial nation-state also enter thetriad of relations between settler-native-slave. We are referring here to the colonial pathways thatare usually described as ‘immigration’ and how the refugee/immigrant/migrant is invited to be asettler in some scenarios, given the appropriate investments in whiteness, or is made an illegal,criminal presence in other scenarios. Ghetto colonialism, prisons, and under resourcedcompulsory schooling are specializations of settler colonialism in North America; they are18 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangproduced by the collapsing of internal, external, and settler colonialisms, into new blendedcategories15.This triad of settler-native-slave and its selective collapsibility seems to be unique tosettler colonial nations. For example, all Aleut people on the Aleutian Islands were collected andplaced in internment camps for four years after the bombing of Dutch Harbor; the statedrationale was the protection of the people but another likely reason was that the U.S.Government feared the Aleuts would become allies with the Japanese and/or be difficult todifferentiate from potential Japanese spies. White people who lived on the Aleutian Islands atthat same time were not interned. Internment in abandoned warehouses and canneries inSoutheast Alaska was the cause of significant numbers of death of children and elders, physicalinjury, and illness among Aleut people. Aleut internment during WWII is largely ignored as partof U.S. history. The shuffling of Indigenous people between Native, enslavable Other, andOrientalized Other16 shows how settler colonialism constructs and collapses its triad ofcategories.This colonizing trick explains why certain minorities can at times become model andquasi-assimilable (as exemplified by Asian settler colonialism, civil rights, model minoritydiscourse, and the use of ‘hispanic’ as an ethnic category to mean both white and non-white) yet,in times of crisis, revert to the status of foreign contagions (as exemplified by JapaneseInternment, Islamophobia, Chinese Exclusion, Red Scare, anti-Irish nativism, WWII antisemitism, and anti-Mexican-immigration). This is why ‘labor’ or ‘workers’ as an agentialpolitical class fails to activate the decolonizing project. “[S]hifting lines of the internationaldivision of labor” (Spivak, 1985, p. 84) bisect the very category of labor into caste-like bodiesbuilt for work on one hand and rewardable citizen-workers on the other. Some labor becomessettler, while excess labor becomes enslavable, criminal, murderable.The impossibility of fully becoming a white settler – in this case, white referring to anexceptionalized position with assumed rights to invulnerability and legal supremacy – asarticulated by minority literature preoccupied with “glass ceilings” and “forever foreign” statusand “myth of the model minority”, offers a strong critique of the myth of the democratic nationstate. However, its logical endpoint, the attainment of equal legal and cultural entitlements, isactually an investment in settler colonialism. Indeed, even the ability to be a minority citizen inthe settler nation means an option to become a brown settler. For many people of color,becoming a subordinate settler is an option even when becoming white is not.“Following stolen resources” is a phrase that Wayne has encountered, used to describeFilipino overseas labor (over 10% of the population of the Philippines is working abroad) andother migrations from colony to metropole. This phrase is an important anti-colonial framing of a15 E.g. Detention centers contain the foreign, non-citizen subject who is paradoxically outside of the nation yet at themercy of imperial sovereignty within the metropole.16 We are using Orientalized Other in sense of the enemy other, following Edward Said’s (1978) analysis ofOrientalism.Decolonization is not a metaphor 19colonial situation. However an anti-colonial critique is not the same as a decolonizingframework; anti-colonial critique often celebrates empowered postcolonial subjects who seizedenied privileges from the metropole. This anti-to-post-colonial project doesn’t strive to undocolonialism but rather to remake it and subvert it. Seeking stolen resources is entangled withsettler colonialism because those resources were nature/Native first, then enlisted into the serviceof settlement and thus almost impossible to reclaim without re-occupying Native land.Furthermore, the postcolonial pursuit of resources is fundamentally an anthropocentric model, asland, water, air, animals, and plants are never able to become postcolonial; they remain objects tobe exploited by the empowered postcolonial subject.Equivocation is the vague equating of colonialisms that erases the sweeping scope of landas the basis of wealth, power, law in settler nation-states. Vocalizing a ‘muliticultural’ approachto oppressions, or remaining silent on settler colonialism while talking about colonialisms, ortacking on a gesture towards Indigenous people without addressing Indigenous sovereignty orrights, or forwarding a thesis on decolonization without regard to unsettling/deoccupying land,are equivocations. That is, they ambiguously avoid engaging with settler colonialism; they areambivalent about minority / people of color / colonized Others as settlers; they are cryptic aboutIndigenous land rights in spaces inhabited by people of color.Moves to innocence IV: Free your mind and the rest will followFanon told us in 1963 that decolonizing the mind is the first step, not the only step towardoverthrowing colonial regimes. Yet we wonder whether another settler move to innocence is tofocus on decolonizing the mind, or the cultivation of critical consciousness, as if it were the soleactivity of decolonization; to allow conscientization to stand in for the more uncomfortable taskof relinquishing stolen land. We agree that curricula, literature, and pedagogy can be crafted toaid people in learning to see settler colonialism, to articulate critiques of settler epistemology,and set aside settler histories and values in search of ethics that reject domination andexploitation; this is not unimportant work. However, the front-loading of critical consciousnessbuilding can waylay decolonization, even though the experience of teaching and learning to becritical of settler colonialism can be so powerful it can feel like it is indeed making change.Until stolen land is relinquished, critical consciousness does not translate into action that disruptssettler colonialism. So, we respectfully disagree with George Clinton and Funkadelic (1970) andEn Vogue (1992) when they assert that if you “free your mind, the rest (your ass) will follow.”Paulo Freire, eminent education philosopher, popular educator, and liberation theologian,wrote his celebrated book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in no small part as a response to Fanon’sWretched of the Earth. Its influence upon critical pedagogy and on the practices of educatorscommitted to social justice cannot be overstated. Therefore, it is important to point outsignificant differences between Freire and Fanon, especially with regard to de/colonization.Freire situates the work of liberation in the minds of the oppressed, an abstract category ofdehumanized worker vis-a-vis a similarly abstract category of oppressor. This is a sharp right20 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangturn away from Fanon’s work, which always positioned the work of liberation in theparticularities of colonization, in the specific structural and interpersonal categories of Nativeand settler. Under Freire’s paradigm, it is unclear who the oppressed are, even more ambiguouswho the oppressors are, and it is inferred throughout that an innocent third category ofenlightened human exists: “those who suffer with [the oppressed] and fight at their side” (Freire,2000, p. 42). These words, taken from the opening dedication of Pedagogy of the Oppressed,invoke the same settler fantasy of mutuality based on sympathy and suffering.Fanon positions decolonization as chaotic, an unclean break from a colonial conditionthat is already over determined by the violence of the colonizer and unresolved in its possiblefutures. By contrast, Freire positions liberation as redemption, a freeing of both oppressor andoppressed through their humanity. Humans become ‘subjects’ who then proceed to work on the‘objects’ of the world (animals, earth, water), and indeed read the word (critical consciousness)in order to write the world (exploit nature). For Freire, there are no Natives, no Settlers, andindeed no history, and the future is simply a rupture from the timeless present. Settlercolonialism is absent from his discussion, implying either that it is an unimportant analytic orthat it is an already completed project of the past (a past oppression perhaps). Freire’s theories ofliberation resoundingly echo the allegory of Plato’s Cave, a continental philosophy of mentalemancipation, whereby the thinking man individualistically emerges from the dark cave ofignorance into the light of critical consciousness.By contrast, black feminist thought roots freedom in the darkness of the cave, in that wellof feeling and wisdom from which all knowledge is recreated.These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient andhidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deepplaces, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, ofunexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman’s place of powerwithin each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.(Lorde, 1984, pp. 36-37)Audre Lorde’s words provide a sharp contrast to Plato’s sight-centric image of liberation: “Thewhite fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us – the poet –whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free” (p. 38). For Lorde, writing is not actionupon the world. Rather, poetry is giving a name to the nameless, “first made into language, theninto idea, then into more tangible action” (p. 37). Importantly, freedom is a possibility that is notjust mentally generated; it is particular and felt.Freire’s philosophies have encouraged educators to use “colonization” as a metaphor foroppression. In such a paradigm, “internal colonization” reduces to “mental colonization”,logically leading to the solution of decolonizing one’s mind and the rest will follow. Suchphilosophy conveniently sidesteps the most unsettling of questions:Decolonization is not a metaphor 21The essential thing is to see clearly, to think clearly – that is, dangerously and toanswer clearly the innocent first question: what, fundamentally, is colonization?(Cesaire, 2000, p. 32)Because colonialism is comprised of global and historical relations, Cesaire’s question must beconsidered globally and historically. However, it cannot be reduced to a global answer, nor ahistorical answer. To do so is to use colonization metaphorically. “What is colonization?” mustbe answered specifically, with attention to the colonial apparatus that is assembled to order therelationships between particular peoples, lands, the ‘natural world’, and ‘civilization’.Colonialism is marked by its specializations. In North America and other settings, settlersovereignty imposes sexuality, legality, raciality, language, religion and property in specificways. Decolonization likewise must be thought through in these particularities.To agree on what [decolonization] is not: neither evangelization, nor aphilanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance,disease, and tyranny… (Cesaire, 2000, p. 32)We deliberately extend Cesaire’s words above to assert what decolonization is not. It is notconverting Indigenous politics to a Western doctrine of liberation; it is not a philanthropicprocess of ‘helping’ the at-risk and alleviating suffering; it is not a generic term for struggleagainst oppressive conditions and outcomes. The broad umbrella of social justice may have roomunderneath for all of these efforts. By contrast, decolonization specifically requires therepatriation of Indigenous land and life. Decolonization is not a metonym for social justice.We don’t intend to discourage those who have dedicated careers and lives to teachingthemselves and others to be critically conscious of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism,xenophobia, and settler colonialism. We are asking them/you to consider how the pursuit ofcritical consciousness, the pursuit of social justice through a critical enlightenment, can also besettler moves to innocence – diversions, distractions, which relieve the settler of feelings of guiltor responsibility, and conceal the need to give up land or power or privilege.Anna Jacobs’ 2009 Master’s thesis explores the possibilities for what she calls whiteharm reduction models. Harm reduction models attempt to reduce the harm or risk of specificpractices. Jacobs identifies white supremacy as a public health issue that is at the root of mostother public health issues. The goal of white harm reduction models, Jacobs says, is to reduce theharm that white supremacy has had on white people, and the deep harm it has caused non-whitepeople over generations. Learning from Jacobs’ analysis, we understand the curricularpedagogical project of critical consciousness as settler harm reduction, crucial in theresuscitation of practices and intellectual life outside of settler ontologies. (Settler) harmreduction is intended only as a stopgap. As the environmental crisis escalates and peoples aroundthe globe are exposed to greater concentrations of violence and poverty, the need for settler harmreduction is acute, profoundly so. At the same time we remember that, by definition, settler harm22 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangreduction, like conscientization, is not the same as decolonization and does not inherently offerany pathways that lead to decolonization.Moves to innocence V: A(s)t(e)risk peoplesThis settler move to innocence is concerned with the ways in which Indigenous peoples arecounted, codified, represented, and included/disincluded by educational researchers and othersocial science researchers. Indigenous peoples are rendered visible in mainstream educationalresearch in two main ways: as “at risk” peoples and as asterisk peoples. This comprises a settlermove to innocence because it erases and then conceals the erasure of Indigenous peoples withinthe settler colonial nation-state and moves Indigenous nations as “populations” to the margins ofpublic discourse.As “at risk” peoples, Indigenous students and families are described as on the verge ofextinction, culturally and economically bereft, engaged or soon-to-be engaged in self-destructivebehaviors which can interrupt their school careers and seamless absorption into the economy.Even though it is widely known and verified that Native youth gain access to personal andacademic success when they also have access to/instruction in their home languages, most NativeAmerican and Alaskan Native youth are taught in English-only schools by temporary teacherswho know little about their students’ communities (Lomawaima and McCarty, 2006; Lee, 2011).Even though Indigenous knowledge systems predate, expand, update, and complicate thecurricula found in most public schools, schools attended by poor Indigenous students are amongthose most regimented in attempts to comply with federal mandates. Though these mandatesintrude on the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, the “services” promised at the inception ofthese mandates do little to make the schools attended by Indigenous youth better at providingthem a compelling, relevant, inspiring and meaningful education.At the same time, Indigenous communities become the asterisk peoples, meaning they arerepresented by an asterisk in large and crucial data sets, many of which are conducted to informpublic policy that impact our/their lives (Villegas, 2012). Education and health statistics areunavailable from Indigenous communities for a variety of reasons and, when they are madeavailable, the size of the n, or the sample size, can appear to be negligible when compared to thesample size of other/race-based categories. Though Indigenous scholars such as Malia Villegasrecognize that Indigenous peoples are distinct from each other but also from other racializedgroups surveyed in these studies, they argue that difficulty of collecting basic education andhealth information about this small and heterogeneous category must be overcome in order tocounter the disappearance of Indigenous particularities in public policy.In U.S. educational research in particular, Indigenous peoples are included only asasterisks, as footnotes into dominant paradigms of educational inequality in the U.S. This can beobserved in the progressive literature on school discipline, on ‘underrepresented minorities’ inhigher education, and in the literature of reparation, i.e., redressing ‘past’ wrongs against nonwhite Others. Under such paradigms, which do important work on alleviating the symptoms ofDecolonization is not a metaphor 23colonialism (poverty, dispossession, criminality, premature death, cultural genocide), Indigeneityis simply an “and” or an illustration of oppression. ‘Urban education’, for example, is a codeword for the schooling of black, brown, and ghettoized youth who form the numerical majorityin divested public schools. Urban American Indians and Native Alaskans become an asteriskgroup, invisibilized, even though about two-thirds of Indigenous peoples in the U.S. live in urbanareas, according to the 2010 census. Yet, urban Indians receive fewer federal funds foreducation, health, and employment than their counterparts on reservations (Berry, 2012).Similarly, Native Pasifika people become an asterisk in the Asian Pacific Islander category andtheir politics/epistemologies/experiences are often subsumed under a pan-ethnic Asian-Americanmaster narrative. From a settler viewpoint that concerns itself with numerical inequality, e.g. theachievement gap, underrepresentation, and the 99%’s short share of the wealth of the metropole,the asterisk is an outlier, an outnumber. It is a token gesture, an inclusion and an enclosure ofNative people into the politics of equity. These acts of inclusion assimilate Indigenoussovereignty, ways of knowing, and ways of being by remaking a collective-comprised tribalidentity into an individualized ethnic identity.From a decolonizing perspective, the asterisk is a body count that does not account forIndigenous politics, educational concerns, and epistemologies. Urban land (indeed all land) isNative land. The vast majority of Native youth in North America live in urban settings. Anydecolonizing urban education endeavor must address the foundations of urban land pedagogyand Indigenous politics vis-a-vis the settler colonial state.Moves to innocence VI: Re-occupation and urban homesteadingThe Occupy movement for many economically marginalized people has been a welcomeexpression of resistance to the massive disparities in the distribution of wealth; for manyIndigenous people, Occupy is another settler re-occupation on stolen land. The rhetoric of themovement relies upon problematic assumptions about social justice and is a prime example ofthe incommensurability between “re/occupy” and “decolonize” as political agendas. The pursuitof worker rights (and rights to work) and minoritized people’s rights in a settler colonial contextcan appear to be anti-capitalist, but this pursuit is nonetheless largely pro-colonial. That is, theideal of “redistribution of wealth” camouflages how much of that wealth is land, Native land. InOccupy, the “99%” is invoked as a deserving supermajority, in contrast to the unearned wealthof the “1%”. It renders Indigenous peoples (a 0.9% ‘super-minority’) completely invisible andabsorbed, just an asterisk group to be subsumed into the legion of occupiers.24 E. Tuck & K.W. YangFigure 1.1. If U.S. land were divided like U.S. wealthFor example, “If U.S. land were divided like U.S. wealth” (figure 1.1) is a popular graphic thatwas electronically circulated on the Internet in late 2011 in connection with the Occupymovement. The image reveals inherent assumptions about land, including: land is property; landis/belongs to the United States; land should be distributed democratically. The beliefs that landcan be owned by people, and that occupation is a right, reflect a profoundly settling,anthropocentric, colonial view of the world.In figure 1.1, the irony of mapping of wealth onto land seems to escape most of thosewho re-posted the images on their social networking sites and blogs: Land is already wealth; it isalready divided; and its distribution is the greatest indicator of racial inequality17. Indeed thecurrent wealth crisis facing the 99% spiraled with the crash in home/land ownership. Land (notmoney) is actually the basis for U.S. wealth. If we took away land, there would be little wealthleft to redistribute.17 Wealth, most significantly in the form of home ownership, supercedes income as an indicator of disparitiesbetween racial groups. See discussions on the wealth gap, home ownership, and racial inequality by Thomas Shapiro(2004), in The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality.Decolonization is not a metaphor 25NATIVE LAND: 100%. RESERVATION LAND: 2.3%.Figure 1.2. If Native land were [is] divided like Native landSettler colonization can be visually understood as the unbroken pace of invasion, andsettler occupation, into Native lands: the white space in figure 1.2. Decolonization, as a process,would repatriate land to Indigenous peoples, reversing the timeline of these images.As detailed by public intellectuals/bloggers such as Tequila Sovereign (Lenape scholarJoanne Barker), some Occupy sites, including Boston, Denver, Austin, and Albuquerque tried toengage in discussions about the problematic and colonial overtones of occupation (Barker,October 9, 2011). Barker blogs about a firsthand experience in bringing a proposal for aMemorandum of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples,18 to the General Assembly in OccupyOakland. The memorandum, signed by Corrina Gould, (Chochenyo Ohlone – the first peoples ofOakland/Ohlone), Barker, and numerous other Indigenous and non-Indigenous activist-scholars,called for the acknowledgement of Oakland as already occupied and on stolen land; of theongoing defiance by Indigenous peoples in the U.S. and around the globe against imperialism,18 The memorandum can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/10/29/18695950.php, last retrievedJune 1, 2012.26 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangcolonialism, and oppression; the need for genuine and respectful involvement of Indigenouspeoples in the Occupy Oakland movement; and the aspiration to “Decolonize Oakland,” ratherthan re-occupy it. From Barker’s account of the responses from settler individuals to thememorandum,Ultimately, what they [settler participants in Occupy Oakland] were asking iswhether or not we were asking them, as non-indigenous people, the impossible?Would their solidarity with us require them to give up their lands, their resources,their ways of life, so that we – who numbered so few, after all – could have more?Could have it all? (Barker, October 30, 2011)These responses, resistances by settler participants to the aspiration of decolonization in OccupyOakland, illustrate the reluctance of some settlers to engage the prospect of decolonizationbeyond the metaphorical or figurative level. Further, they reveal the limitations to “solidarity,”without the willingness to acknowledge stolen land and how stolen land benefits settlers.“Genuine solidarity with indigenous peoples,” Barker continues, “assumes a basic understandingof how histories of colonization and imperialism have produced and still produce the legal andeconomic possibility for Oakland” (ibid., emphasis original).For social justice movements, like Occupy, to truly aspire to decolonization nonmetaphorically, they would impoverish, not enrich, the 99%+ settler population of United States.Decolonization eliminates settler property rights and settler sovereignty. It requires the abolitionof land as property and upholds the sovereignty of Native land and people.There are important parallels between Occupy/Decolonize and the French/HaitianRevolutions of 1789-1799 and 1791-1804, respectively. Haiti has the dubious distinction ofbeing “the poorest country in the Western hemisphere” (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012); yet,it was the richest of France’s colonies until the Haitian Revolution, the only slave revolution toever found a state. This paradox can be explained by what/who counts as whose property. UnderFrench colonialism, Haiti was a worth a fortune in enslaved human beings. From the Frenchslave owners’ perspectives, Haitian independence abolished not slavery, but their property and asource of common-wealth. Unfortunately, history provides us with the exact figures on whattheir property was worth; in 1825, “France recognized Haitian independence by a treatyrequiring Haiti to pay an indemnity of 150 million francs payable in 5 years to compensateabsentee slaveowners for their losses” (Schuller, 2007, p.149). The magnitude19 of these19 150 million Francs was the equivalent of France’s annual budget (and Haiti’s population was less than 1% ofFrance’s), 10 times all annual Haitian exports in 1825, equivalent to $21 billion in 2010 U.S. Dollars. By contrastFrance sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States in 1803 for a net sum of 42 million Francs. The indemnitydemand, delivered by 12 warships armed with 500 canons, “heralded a strategy of plunder” (Schuller, 2007, p.166),as a new technology in colonial reconquest.Decolonization is not a metaphor 27reparations not for slavery, but to former slave owners, plunged Haiti into eternal debt20. Occupydraws almost directly from the values of the French Revolution: the Commons, the GeneralAssembly, the natural right to property, and the resistance to the decolonization of Indigenouslife/land. In 1789, the French Communes (Commons) declared themselves a National Assemblydirectly “of the People” (the 99%) against the representative assembly of “the Estates” (the 1%)set up by the ruling elite, and adopted the celebrated Declaration of the Rights of the Man andthe Citizen. Not unlike the heated discussions at the December 4, 2011 General Assembly ofOccupy Oakland that ultimately rejected the proposal to change the name to “DecolonizeOakland”, the 1789 National Assembly debated at great length over the language ofemancipation in the Declaration. Ultimately, the Declaration abolished slavery but not property,and effectively stipulated that property trumped emancipation. While rhetorically declaring menas forever free and equal (and thus unenslavable), it assured the (revolutionary) colonialproprietors in the assembly that their chattel would be untouched, stating unequivocally: “Theright to property being inviolable and sacred, no one ought to be deprived of it…” (Blackburn,2006, p. 650).Table 1.Outnumbers. Incommensurable.French Revolution 99% French, 1% Slaves21Haitian Revolution 90% Slaves, 10% Whites & Free BlacksDecolonizing the Americas means all land is repatriated and all settlers become landless.It is incommensurable with the redistribution of Native land/life as common-wealth.Table 2.Outnumbers. Incommensurable.Occupy 99% Occupiers, 1% OwnersDecolonize 0.9% Indigenous22, 99.1% Settlers2320 Haiti has literally been in debt from the moment it was recognized as a country. Haiti paid off its indemnity toFrance in 1937, but only through new indemnity with the United States. Ironically, in contemporary times, the ParisClub has power over Haiti’s debt, and thus maintains Haiti’s poverty.21 At 28 million people, France was the 3rd most populous country in the world in 1789, after China and India.Haiti’s slave population in 1791 was approximately 452,000 – a fluctuating number as the slave mortality rateexceeded the birth rate, requiring a constant supply of newly enslaved Africans; and approximately 200,000 slavesdied in the revolution. 1% refers to this number of enslaved people in Haiti relative to the French population, anddoes not include those enslaved in France or its other colonies.22 According to the 2010 U.S. census, Native Americans comprise 0.9% of U.S. inhabitants.28 E. Tuck & K.W. YangOur critique of Occupation is not just a critique of rhetoric. The call to “occupyeverything” has legitimized a set of practices with problematic relationships to land and toIndigenous sovereignty. Urban homesteading, for example, is the practice of re-settling urbanland in the fashion of self-styled pioneers in a mythical frontier. Not surprisingly, urbanhomesteading can also become a form of playing Indian, invoking Indigeneity as ‘tradition’ andclaiming Indian-like spirituality while evading Indigenous sovereignty and the modern presenceof actual urban Native peoples. More significant examples are Occupiers’ claims to land andtheir imposition of Western forms of governance within their tent cities/colonies. Claiming landfor the Commons and asserting consensus as the rule of the Commons, erases existing, prior, andfuture Native land rights, decolonial leadership, and forms of self-government.Occupation is a move towards innocence that hides behind the numerical superiority ofthe settler nation, the elision of democracy with justice, and the logic that what became propertyunder the 1% rightfully belongs to the other 99%.In contrast to the settler labor of occupying the commons, homesteading, and possession,some scholars have begun to consider the labor of de-occupation in the undercommons,permanent fugitivity, and dispossession as possibilities for a radical black praxis. Such “a laborthat is dedicated to the reproduction of social dispossession as having an ethical dimension”(Moten & Harney, 2004, p.110), includes both the refusal of acquiring property and of beingpropertyIncommensurability is unsettlingHaving elaborated on settler moves to innocence, we give a synopsis of the imbrication of settlercolonialism with transnationalist, abolitionist, and critical pedagogy movements – efforts that areoften thought of as exempt from Indigenous decolonizing analyses – as a synthesis of howdecolonization as material, not metaphor, unsettles the innocence of these movements. These areinterruptions which destabilize, un-balance, and repatriate the very terms and assumptions ofsome of the most radical efforts to reimagine human power relations. We argue that theopportunities for solidarity lie in what is incommensurable rather than what is common acrossthese efforts.We offer these perspectives on unsettling innocence because they are examples of whatwe might call an ethic of incommensurability, which recognizes what is distinct, what issovereign for project(s) of decolonization in relation to human and civil rights based socialjustice projects. There are portions of these projects that simply cannot speak to one another,cannot be aligned or allied. We make these notations to highlight opportunities for what canonly ever be strategic and contingent collaborations, and to indicate the reasons that lastingsolidarities may be elusive, even undesirable. Below we point to unsettling themes thatchallenge the coalescence of social justice endeavors broadly assembled into three areas:23 Wayne would like to give special thanks to Jodi Byrd for pointing out this numerical irony.Decolonization is not a metaphor 29Transnational or Third World decolonizations, Abolition, and Critical Space-Place Pedagogies.For each of these areas, we offer entry points into the literature – beginning a sort of bibliographyof incommensurability.Third world decolonizationsThe anti-colonial turn towards the transnational can sometimes involve ignoring the settlercolonial context where one resides and how that inhabitation is implicated in settler colonialism,in order to establish “global” solidarities that presumably suffer fewer complicities andcomplications. This deliberate not-seeing is morally convenient but avoids an important featureof the aforementioned selective collapsibility of settler colonial-nations states. Expressions suchas “the Global South within the Global North” and “the Third World in the First World” neglectthe Four Directions via a Flat Earth perspective and ambiguate First Nations with Third Worldmigrants. For people writing on Third World decolonizations, but who do so upon Native land,we invite you to consider the permanent settler war as the theater for all imperial wars:● the Orientalism of Indigenous Americans (Berger, 2004; Marez, 2007)● discovery, invasion, occupation, and Commons as the claims of settler sovereignty (Ford,2010)● heteropatriarchy as the imposition of settler sexuality (Morgensen, 2011)● citizenship as coercive and forced assimilation into the white settler normative (Bruyneel,2004; Somerville, 2010)● religion as covenant for settler nation-state (A.J. Barker, 2009; Maldonado-Torres, 2008)● the frontier as the first and always the site of invasion and war (Byrd, 2011),● U.S. imperialism as the expansion of settler colonialism (ibid)● Asian settler colonialism (Fujikane, 2012; Fujikane, & Okamura, 2008, Saranillio, 2010a,2010b)● the frontier as the language of ‘progress’ and discovery (Maldonado-Torres, 2008)● rape as settler colonial structure (Deer, 2009; 2010)● the discourse of terrorism as the terror of Native retribution (Tuck & Ree, forthcoming)● Native Feminisms as incommensurable with other feminisms (Arvin, Tuck, Morrill,forthcoming; Goeman & Denetdale, 2009).AbolitionThe abolition of slavery often presumes the expansion of settlers who own Native land and lifevia inclusion of emancipated slaves and prisoners into the settler nation-state. As we have noted,it is no accident that the U.S. government promised 40 acres of Indian land as reparations forplantation slavery. Likewise, indentured European laborers were often awarded tracts of‘unsettled’ Indigenous land as payment at the end of their service (McCoy, forthcoming).30 E. Tuck & K.W. YangCommunal ownership of land has figured centrally in various movements for autonomous, selfdetermined communities. “The land belongs to those who work it,” disturbingly parrots Lockeanjustifications for seizing Native land as property, ‘earned’ through one’s labor in clearing andcultivating ‘virgin’ land. For writers on the prison industrial complex, il/legality, and other formsof slavery, we urge you to consider how enslavement is a twofold procedure: removal from landand the creation of property (land and bodies). Thus, abolition is likewise twofold, requiring therepatriation of land and the abolition of property (land and bodies). Abolition means selfpossession but not object-possession, repatriation but not reparation:● “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humansany more than black people were made for white, or women created for men” (AliceWalker, describing the work of Marjorie Spiegel, in the in the preface to Spigel’s 1988book, The Dreaded Comparison).● Enslavement/removal of Native Americans (Gallay, 2009)● Slaves who become slave-owners, savagery as enslavability, chattel slavery as a sign ofcivilization (Gallay, 2009)● Black fugitivity, undercommons, and radical dispossession (Moten, 2008; Moten &Harney, 2004; Moten & Harney, 2010)● Incarceration as a settler colonialism strategy of land dispossession (Ross, 1998; Watson,2007)● Native land and Native people as co-constituitive (Meyer, 2008; Kawagley, 2010)Critical pedagogiesThe many critical pedagogies that engage emancipatory education, place based education,environmental education, critical multiculturalism, and urban education often position land aspublic Commons or seek commonalities between struggles. Although we believe that “we mustbe fluent” in each other’s stories and struggles (paraphrasing Alexander, 2002, p.91), we detectprecisely this lack of fluency in land and Indigenous sovereignty. Yupiaq scholar, OscarKawagley’s assertion, “We know that Mother Nature has a culture, and it is a Native culture”(2010, p. xiii), directs us to think through land as “more than a site upon which humans makehistory or as a location that accumulates history” (Goeman, 2008, p.24). The forthcoming specialissue in Environmental Education Research, “Land Education: Indigenous, postcolonial, anddecolonizing perspectives on place and environmental education research” might be a goodstarting point to consider the incommensurability of place-based, environmentalist, urbanpedagogies with land education.● The urban as Indigenous (Bang, 2009; Belin, 1999; Friedel, 2011; Goeman, 2008;Intertribal Friendship House & Lobo, 2002)● Indigenous storied land as disrupting settler maps (Goeman, 2008)Decolonization is not a metaphor 31● Novels, poetry, and essays by Greg Sarris, Craig Womack, Joy Harjo, Gerald Vizenor● To Remain an Indian (Lomawaima & McCarty, 2006)● Shadow Curriculum (Richardson, 2011)● Red Pedagogy (Grande, 2004)● Land Education (McCoy, Tuck, McKenzie, forthcoming)More on incommensurabilityIncommensurability is an acknowledgement that decolonization will require a change in theorder of the world (Fanon, 1963). This is not to say that Indigenous peoples or Black and brownpeoples take positions of dominance over white settlers; the goal is not for everyone to merelyswap spots on the settler-colonial triad, to take another turn on the merry-go-round. The goal isto break the relentless structuring of the triad – a break and not a compromise (Memmi, 1991).Breaking the settler colonial triad, in direct terms, means repatriating land to sovereignNative tribes and nations, abolition of slavery in its contemporary forms, and the dismantling ofthe imperial metropole. Decolonization “here” is intimately connected to anti-imperialismelsewhere. However, decolonial struggles here/there are not parallel, not shared equally, nor dothey bring neat closure to the concerns of all involved – particularly not for settlers.Decolonization is not equivocal to other anti-colonial struggles. It is incommensurable.There is so much that is incommensurable, so many overlaps that can’t be figured, thatcannot be resolved. Settler colonialism fuels imperialism all around the globe. Oil is the motorand motive for war and so was salt, so will be water. Settler sovereignty over these very pieces ofearth, air, and water is what makes possible these imperialisms. The same yellow pollen in thewater of the Laguna Pueblo reservation in New Mexico, Leslie Marmon Silko reminds us, is thesame uranium that annihilated over 200,000 strangers in 2 flashes. The same yellow pollen thatpoisons the land from where it came. Used in the same war that took a generation of youngPueblo men. Through the voice of her character Betonie, Silko writes, “Thirty thousand yearsago they were not strangers. You saw what the evil had done; you saw the witchery ranging aswide as the world” (Silko, 1982, p. 174). In Tucson, Arizona, where Silko lives, her books arenow banned in schools. Only curricular materials affirming the settler innocence, ingenuity, andright to America may be taught.In “No”, her response to the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq, Mvskoke/Creek poetJoy Harjo (2004) writes, “Yes, that was me you saw shaking with bravery, with a governmentissued rifle on my back. I’m sorry I could not greet you, as you deserved, my relative.” Don’tNative Americans participate in greater rates in the military? asks the young-ish man from VietNam.“Indian Country” was/is the term used in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq by the U.S.military for ‘enemy territory’. The first Black American President said without blinking, “Therewas a point before folks had left, before we had gotten everybody back on the helicopter andwere flying back to base, where they said Geronimo has been killed, and Geronimo was the code32 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangname for bin Laden.” Elmer Pratt, Black Panther leader, falsely imprisoned for 27 years, was aVietnam Veteran, was nicknamed ‘Geronimo’. Geronimo is settler nickname for the BedonkoheApache warrior who fought Mexican and then U.S. expansion into Apache tribal lands. The Colt.45 was perfected to kill Indigenous people during the ‘liberation’ of what became thePhilippines, but it was first invented for the ‘Indian Wars’ in North America alongside TheHotchkiss Canon- a gattling gun that shot canonballs. The technologies of the permanent settlerwar are reserviced for foreign wars, including boarding schools, colonial schools, urban schoolsrun by military personnel.It is properly called Indian Country.Figure 1.3. Hotchkiss Revolving CannonIdeologies of US settler colonialism directly informed Australian settler colonialism.South African apartheid townships, the kill-zones in what became the Philippine colony, thennation-state, the checkerboarding of Palestinian land with checkpoints, were modeled after U.S.seizures of land and containments of Indian bodies to reservations. The racial science developedin the U.S. (a settler colonial racial science) informed Hitler’s designs on racial purity (“Thisbook is my bible” he said of Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race). The admiration issometimes mutual, the doctors and administrators of forced sterilizations of black, Native,disabled, poor, and mostly female people – The Sterilization Act accompanied the RacialIntegrity Act and the Pocohontas Exception – praised the Nazi eugenics program. Forcedsterilizations became illegal in California in 1964. The management technologies of NorthAmerican settler colonialism have provided the tools for internal colonialisms elsewhere.So to with philosophies of state and corporate land-grabbing24. The prominence of “flatworld” perspectives asserts that technology has afforded a diminished significance of place andborders. The claim is that U.S. borders have become more flexible, yet simultaneously, thephysical border has become more absolute and enforced. The border is no longer just a linesuturing two nation-states; the U.S. now polices its borders interior to its territory and exercises24 See also Arundhati Roy (2012) in Capitalism: A Ghost StoryDecolonization is not a metaphor 33sovereignty throughout the globe. Just as sovereignty has expanded, so has settler colonialism inpartial forms.New Orleans’ lower ninth ward lies at the confluence of river channels and gulf waters,and at the intersection of land grabbing and human bondage. The collapsing of levies heraldedthe selective collapsibility of native-slave, again, for the purpose of reinvasion, resettlement,reinhabitation. The naturalized disaster of Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters laid the perfectcover for land speculation and the ablution of excess people. What can’t be absorbed, can’t befolded in (because the settlers won’t give up THEIR land to advance abolition), translates intobodies stacked on top of one another in public housing and prisons, in cells, kept from the labormarket, making labor for others (guards and other corrections personnel) making money forstates -human homesteading. It necessitates the manufacturing of crime at rates higher thananywhere in the world. 1 in 6 people in the state of Louisiana are incarcerated, the highestnumber of caged people per capita, making it the prison capital of United States, and thereforethe prison capital of the world.Table 3Prison capital of the world25.Prisoners per 100,000 residentsLouisiana 1,619United States 730Russia 450Iran 333China 122Afghanistan 62The Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers’ delta flood plain was once land so fertile that it couldbe squeezed for excess production of cotton, giving rise to exceptionally large-scale plantationslavery. Plantation owners lived in houses like pyramids and chattel slavery took an extremeform here, even for the South, beginning with enslaved Chitimachas, Choctaw, Natchez,Chaoüachas, Natchez, Westo, Yamasee, Euchee, Yazoo and Tawasa peoples, then later replacedby enslaved West Africans. Literally, worked to death. This “most Southern on earth”(Cobb,1992) was a place of ultimate terror for Black people even under slavery (the worst place to besold off too, the place of no return, the place of premature death). Black and Native people alikewere induced to raid and enslave Native tribes, as a bargain for their own freedom or to defertheir own enslavibility by the British, French, and then American settlers. Abolition has itsincommensurabilities.The Delta is now more segregated than it was during Jim Crow in 1950 (Aiken, 1990).The rising number of impoverished, all black townships is the result of mechanization of25 Source: Chang (2012).34 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangagriculture and a fundamental settler covenant that keeps black people landless. When blacklabor is unlabored, the Black person underneath is the excess.Angola Farm is perhaps the more notorious of the two State Penitentiaries along theMississippi River. Three hundred miles upriver in the upper Delta region is Parchment Farm.Both State Penitentiaries (Mississippi and Louisana, respectively), both former slave plantations,both turned convict-leasing farms almost immediately after the Civil War by genius landspeculators-cum-prison wardens. After the Union victory in the Civil War ‘abolished’ slavery,former Confederate Major, Samuel Lawrence James, obtained the lease to the Louisiana StatePenn in 1869, and then bought Angola Farm in 1880 as land to put his chattel to work.Figure 1.4. “The Cage: where convicts are herded like beasts of the jungle. The pan under it isthe toilet receptacle. The stench from it hangs like a pall over the whole area” John Spivak,Georgia N_____, 1932.Cages on wheels. To mobilize labor on land by landless people whose crime was mobilityon land they did not own. The largest human trafficker in the world is the carceral state withinDecolonization is not a metaphor 35the United States, not some secret Thai triad or Russian mafia or Chinese smuggler. The U.S.carceral state is properly called neo-slavery, precisely because it is legal. It is not simply aproduct of exceptional racism in the U.S.; its racism is a direct function of the settler colonialmandate of land and people as property.Black Codes made vagrancy – i.e. landlessness – illegal in the Antebellum South, makingthe self-possessed yet dispossessed Black body a crime (similar logic allowed for the seizure,imprisonment and indenture of any Indian by any person in California until 1937, based on theideology that Indians are simultaneously landless and land-like). Dennis Childs writes “the slaveship and the plantation” and not Bentham’s panopticon as presented by Foucault, “operated asspatial, racial, and economic templates for subsequent models of coerced labor and humanwarehousing – as America’s original prison industrial complex” (2009, p.288). Geopolitics andbiopolitics are completely knotted together in a settler colonial context.Despite the rise of publicly traded prisons, Farms are not fundamentally capitalistventures; at their core, they are colonial contract institutions much like Spanish Missions, IndianBoarding Schools, and ghetto school systems26. The labor to cage black bodies is paid for by thestate and then land is granted, worked by convict labor, to generate additional profits for theprison proprietors. However, it is the management of excess presence on the land, not the forcedlabor, that is the main object of slavery under settler colonialism.Today, 85% of people incarcerated at Angola, die there.ConclusionAn ethic of incommensurability, which guides moves that unsettle innocence, stands in contrastto aims of reconciliation, which motivate settler moves to innocence. Reconciliation is aboutrescuing settler normalcy, about rescuing a settler future. Reconciliation is concerned withquestions of what will decolonization look like? What will happen after abolition? What will bethe consequences of decolonization for the settler? Incommensurability acknowledges that thesequestions need not, and perhaps cannot, be answered in order for decolonization to exist as aframework.We want to say, first, that decolonization is not obliged to answer those questions –decolonization is not accountable to settlers, or settler futurity. Decolonization is accountable toIndigenous sovereignty and futurity. Still, we acknowledge the questions of those waryparticipants in Occupy Oakland and other settlers who want to know what decolonization willrequire of them. The answers are not fully in view and can’t be as long as decolonizationremains punctuated by metaphor. The answers will not emerge from friendly understanding, andindeed require a dangerous understanding of uncommonality that un-coalesces coalition politics –moves that may feel very unfriendly. But we will find out the answers as we get there, “in the26 As we write today, Louisiana has moved to privatize all of its public schoolshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/louisiana-makes-bold-bid-_n_1563900.html36 E. Tuck & K.W. Yangexact measure that we can discern the movements which give [decolonization] historical formand content” (Fanon, 1963, p. 36).To fully enact an ethic of incommensurability means relinquishing settler futurity,abandoning the hope that settlers may one day be commensurable to Native peoples. It meansremoving the asterisks, periods, commas, apostrophes, the whereas’s, buts, and conditionalclauses that punctuate decolonization and underwrite settler innocence. The Native futures, thelives to be lived once the settler nation is gone – these are the unwritten possibilities madepossible by an ethic of incommensurability.when you take away the punctuationhe says oflines lifted from the documents aboutmilitary-occupied landits acreage and locationyou take away its finalityopening the possibility of other futures-Craig Santos Perez, Chamoru scholar and poet(as quoted by Voeltz, 2012)Decolonization offers a different perspective to human and civil rights based approaches tojustice, an unsettling one, rather than a complementary one. Decolonization is not an “and”. It isan elsewhere.ReferencesAhmed, S. (2000). Strange encounters: Embodied others in postcoloniality. New York:Routledge.Aiken, C. S. (1990). A new type of black ghetto in the plantation South. Annals of theAssociation of American Geographers, 80(2), 223-246.Alexander, J. (2002) Remembering this bridge, remembering ourselves. In G. 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(1999). Blues-ing on the brown vibe. In From the belly of my beauty: Poems (pp. 3-6). Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Berger, B.R. (2004). Indian policy and the imagined Indian woman. Kansas Journal of Law andPublic Policy, 14, 103-115.Blackburn, R. (2006). Haiti, slavery, and the age of the democratic revolution. The William andMary Quarterly, 63(4), 643-674.Bruyneel, K. (2007). The third space of sovereignty: The postcolonial politics of U.S.-Indigenousrelations. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Bruyneel, K. (2004). Challenging American boundaries: Indigenous people and the “gift” of U.S.citizenship. Studies in American Political Development, 18, 30-43.Butterfield, L. H. (January 01, 1954). Cooper’s inheritance: The Otsego country and its founders.New York History, 35, 374-411.Byrd, J. A. (2011). The transit of empire: Indigenous critiques of colonialism. Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press.Central Intelligence Agency. (May 12, 2012). Haiti. 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Descrip@on of assignment: Write a 500 word response that criLcally reflects on the filmand at least one reading for the week, relaZng them to each other and to the broaderthemes of the course. Your assignments should demonstrate your understanding of theboth. Do not simply describe film, or detail out the plot and characters, instead – discussthe films in relaZon to the concepts and themes brought up in the reading/s and classdiscussions. (See themes under Course DescripZon in this syllabus).● Assignment Prompt: Here are some quesZons to prompt your criZcal reflecZons. You donot have to answer each of these quesZons in each post, but use them as a genericprompt to guide you as you watch, read, analyze and write about films/texts in thiscourse.○ What are the central arguments made by the assigned film(s) and texts(s)for theweek, in relaZon to the subject of immigraZon or diversity?○ What social/cultural/poliZcal/historical issues brought into focus in the films?○ What themes emerge from these films and texts with regard to social jusZce,gender/race/naZon or global issues in the materials studied?6○ How do you connect to these issues/themes personally, and how do the filmsand readings help you understand them in new ways (or not)?● Style: A criZcal reflecZon should ideally combine an analyZcal approach and personalexperience or outlook. It is not mandatory to argue your posiZon like in an academicessay, but it is required to analyze and reflect on the course materials assigned.○ Balance the reflecZon with personal opinion (or lived experience) and objecZveanalysis of film and readings as far as possible.○ Do not make sweeping statements without jusZficaZon; illustrate your pointusing examples/quotes/scenarios from films and/or texts to support yourargument.○ Give emphasis to both film and readings to demonstrate your understanding ofboth in relaZon to each other. WriZng only about the film and ignoring thereading or vice-versa can adversely impact your grades.● Structure: You can divide your reflecZon into (at least) 3 paragraphs including a briefintroducZon, a body (main analysis of texts and films) and a brief conclusion. (You do nothave to label each paragraph as such.)○ Title of post (in the subject line): Title your reflecZon in a manner that helps thereader get a quick sense of the contents of your post. It can be creaZvely wordedor just funcZonal or both, that is up to you.○ IntroducZon: Provide an opening statement that indicates how you areapproaching this weeks materials, giving an entry for the reader into yourreflecZon. Make sure you menZon the Ztle of the film and the reading/s you arereflecZng on within the first 1-3 sentences of your reflecZon.○ Body: The main content of your reflecZon that focuses on the analysis of onefilm and at least one text for the week. RelaZng them to each other.○ Conclusion: Try to end your piece with a central quesZon informed by yourreflecZon, indicaZng a direcZon you would like to explore in relaZon to thesubject.7○ Add a ‘Works Cited’ secZon (not included in your word count) at the end of yourcriZcal reflecZon.● Cita@ons: Cite the film and readings within the text and also at the end of your post,following any professionally accepted format such as Chicago (Notes and Bib orAuthor-Date), MLA, APA etc as long as it is consistent. If you refer to any addiZonal textsor films, you may cite them in addiZon to the required films and readings, howeverensure that the content of your reflecZon is mainly devoted to the assigned coursematerials. The Chicago Manual of Style Online is available through the UB library, underDatabases for your reference. Please Note: Work without bibliography and proper in-textcitaZon will not be accepted.h]ps://www-chicagomanualofstyle-org.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/home.html● Pos@ng:○ File format: Don’t post or email a]achments. Type directly inside the text box,ager creaZng a thread in the relevant discussion forum. Microsog Word can atZmes cause formarng issues when you copy and paste from it, so use a simplerword processing sogware (like Notepad or Textedit) to compose your text (if youare copying and pasZng it into UB Learns).○ CorrecZng a post: Try to get it right the first Zme, but, If you forgot to add endcitaZons when you posted or made a mistake you want to recZfy in your post – –just re- post it again on the forum with the word ‘corrected post’ before you Ztle,so we know which one to grade.● Do not do the following:○ No plagiarism will be tolerated: It can result in failure in the course and seriousconsequences. TransliteraZng content from other languages to use in your post isalso considered plagiarism. Don’t overuse quotes. Your assignment should notinclude more than 20 percent of quoted material.8○ Describing a film is not reflec@on or analysis: Don’t spend a significant part ofyour assignment, in summarizing or describing a film’s story, scene, plotline orcharacters. This informaZon is easily available online and does not consZtute acriZcal reflecZon.○ Do not write just to fill word count. Do not go under or over word count bymore than 50 words. RepeaZng the same informaZon, using irrelevant text,discussing off-topic arguments, rambling and using too much descripZon asdescribed above, will not be appreciated and not be graded.○ Don’t ignore readings: Leaving out any of the required materials from youranalysis can adversely impact your grades.○ Don’t submit late: Delay in posZng assignments can cause you to lose points.○ Don’t lose your work: Save backups your assignments before you post them,you are responsible for keeping a copy of your own work.


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