Fighting Invasive Infrastructures

Indigenous Relations against Pipelines

Anne Spice

Abstract

In the settler colonial context of so-called Canada, oil and gas projects are contemporary infrastructures of invasion. This article tracks how the state discourse of “critical infrastructure” naturalizes the environmental destruction wrought by the oil and gas industry while criminalizing Indigenous resistance. I review anthropological work to analyze the applicability of the concept of infrastructure to Indigenous struggles against resource extraction. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Indigenous land defense movements against pipeline construction, I argue for an alternative approach to infrastructure that strengthens and supports the networks of human and other-than-human relations that continue to make survival possible for Indigenous peoples.

Keywords: anthropology; Indigenous relations; infrastructure; pipelines; settler colonialism

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/ares.2018.090104

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