Rupturing Settler Myths

Review of Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan’s Policing Indigenous Movements

Myths about Indigenous peoples are persistent in popular settler Canadian discourse. They show settler disconnect and lack of understanding around dispossession of Indigenous lands and lifeways, settler colonization, and cultural genocide. These myths are utilized to “treat assertions of traditional Indigeneity as abnormal,” and create a framework where “any challenge to settler colonial authority is marked as potential violence against the post-colonial order” (9). What in part propelled, and now underlies, the continued colonization of Indigenous peoples and their lands within Canadian borders is a body of myths and mis/non-information regarding Indigeneity, relationships to land, and Indigenous histories. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once infamously stated, Canada is “without some of the baggage that so many other Western countries have—either colonial pasts or perceptions of American imperialism.”1 These popular beliefs all function to normalize structural violence while allowing settlers to negate their complicity in capitalist settler projects. Rupturing these myths requires settlers to recognize myths’ relationship to environmental and state violence.

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