Repairing Broken Relations by Repairing Broken Treaties: Theorizing Post-Colonial States in Settler Colonies

Studies in Social Justice 12 (2):388-405 (2018)
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This article examines the British colonial theft of Indigenous sovereignty and the particular obstacles that it presents to establishing just social relations between the colonizer and the colonized in settler states. In the first half, I argue that the particular nature of the crime of sovereign theft makes apologies and reparations unsuitable policy tools for reconciliation because Settler societies owe their very existence to the abrogation of Indigenous sovereignties. Instead, Settler states ought to return sovereignty to the land’s Indigenous peoples. In the second half of this paper, I take up some of the practical questions of how this might be done and anticipate a number of objections. Giving up sovereignty would not mean dispossessing the millions of colonists who currently reside in these countries of their homes and property – but it does mean rethinking the constitutional makeup of a country and how that serves to benefit the different peoples who make their homes there.
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