Title: 'Come out and live on your land again': sovereignty, borders and the Unist'ot'en camp

Authors: Liam Midzain-Gobin

Addresses: Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Kenneth Taylor Hall, 527, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4M4, Canada

Abstract: Borders are often understood as 'tools' of sovereign power and as establishing the very possibility for authority in the international system of sovereign states (Salter, 2012). This paper seeks to problematise this perspective by looking at the case of the Unist'ot'en Action Camp in northern British Columbia, which has engaged bordering practices including having established a checkpoint on the roadway into the Unist'ot'en territory and actively policing helicopter traffic into the territory. Looking at the Camp, this paper argues that such bordering practices draw upon traditional Indigenous ways of being in order to contest and undo settler sovereign authority, in contrast to the traditional understanding of borders as working to organise settler authority. Understood this way, the paper argues that when inscribed with Indigenous knowledge and when relying on Indigenous authorities, borders and bordering practices can be read as gateways to 'meaningful decolonisation.'

Keywords: sovereignty; borders; settler colonialism; Indigenous peoples; Unist'ot'en action camp; territoriality; decolonisation; Indigenous resurgence; logic of elimination; camp.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2019.10021300

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2019 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.12 - 28

Received: 28 Jun 2017
Accepted: 04 Jul 2018

Published online: 14 May 2019 *

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