Settler Colonialism, Ecology, and Environmental Injustice

Kyle Whyte

Abstract

Settler colonialism is a form of domination that violently disrupts human relationships with the environment. Settler colonialism is ecological domination, committing environmental injustice against Indigenous peoples and other groups. Focusing on the context of Indigenous peoples’ facing US domination, this article investigates philosophically one dimension of how settler colonialism commits environmental injustice. When examined ecologically, settler colonialism works strategically to undermine Indigenous peoples’ social resilience as self determining collectives. To understand the relationships connecting settler colonialism, environmental injustice, and violence, the article first engages Anishinaabe intellectual traditions to describe an Indigenous conception of social resilience called collective continuance. One way in which settler colonial violence commits environmental injustice is through strategically undermining Indigenous collective continuance. At least two kinds of environmental injustices demonstrate such violence: vicious sedimentation and insidious loops. The article seeks to contribute to knowledge of how anti-Indigenous settler colonialism and environmental injustice are connected.

Keywords: anticolonialism; climate justice; decolonization; resilience; resurgence; sustainability

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/ares.2018.090109

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