Instrumentalities of the Settler State 3h - Colonising bodies and land


Colonising bodies and land


‘The industrial system of resource extraction in Canada is predicated on systems of power and domination. This system is based on the raping and pillaging of Mother Earth as well as violence against women. The two are inextricably linked. With the expansion of extractive industries, not only do we see desecration of the land, we see an increase in violence against women. Rampant sexual violence against women and a variety of social ills result from the influx of transient workers in and around workers’ camps.’

Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree), quoted in ‘Violence on the land, Violence on our bodies: Building an Indigenous response to environmental justice

Invasion and colonisation are inextricable from the disregard of consent for bodies or over land. Indigenous activists and communities draw attention to the intersections of environmental violence and gender-based violence. One of the most readily intelligible examples is the relation that links sites of extraction, the corresponding influx of a mostly male, white, workforce and the dispersal of local populations. This is often marked by an increase in rates of sexual violence, increases in crime and forms of addiction (alcohol, sugar, drugs) and the disappearance and murder of Indigenous women and children.

Ivan Sen’s films Mystery Road and Goldstone (discussed in the following sections of this case study), as well as popular films such as Wind River, explore the contemporary murder and disappearance of Indigenous women in the vicinity of mining camps or on reservations.


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