Entangled Territorialities: Negotiating Indigenous Lands in Australia and Canada. Edited by Francoise Dussart and Sylvie Poirier

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Veronica Fynn Bruey


Entangled Territorialities: Negotiating Indigenous Lands in Australia and Canada opens with a Foreword from Professor John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law and a mentor I revere and honour. Without diluting the profundity of its contents, here is an excerpt of Borrows’ perspective of Entangled Territorialities:

To be alive is to be entangled in relationship not entirely of our own making. We are born to parents who we did not choose. Our families pre-existed our arrival. We receive languages, cultures, and world views before getting much choice in the matter. Our formative years are threaded with social, emotional, and economic relationship that we did not conceive. They are woven into our very being, largely without our permission. We are structured by race, class, and gender without much ability to resist, at least at first. These identities are generally knitted into ur very being without our active and autonomous choice. We often live with the consequences of these decision throughout our lies. Sometimes these decisions affect generations of people, through vast epochs of time. And it is not only individuals who deal with this reality. Nations, peoples, and species face the same circumstances. Free, prior, and informed consent is weakly deployed when receiving life’s first endowments (pvii). (…) our entanglements can either be liberating or oppressive (pviii). (…) tradition is a source of different ways of living (pix). (...) each essay effectively illustrates how Indigenous peoples reconstruct their distinctive identities, notwithstanding, ongoing colonial encounters (pix).

The edited book is divided into 11 chapters. Authored by the editors, Francoise Dussart and Sylvie Poirier, chapter one, Knowing and Managing the Land: The Conundrum of Coexistence and Entanglement, explicates the significance of entanglement situating its meaning within the larger context of the troubled relationship between settlers and Indigenous peoples regarding the “knowledge, use, and management of their customary lands” (p4) in Canada and Australia.

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