Aurélie Lacassagne: A Legal Decivilizing Process: Canada’s Indigenous Policies and Legislation. [Abstract]

The relationships between the Canadian state and the Indigenous peoples inhabiting Canada have been characterized by different forms of violence exercised by the state against First Peoples. But perhaps the most striking form of violence is legal violence, i.e., the engineering and imposition of various legal regimes used to violate Indigenous rights and eradicate these nations. Settler states have a rather unique formation, which lacks legitimacy, and whose sovereignties are contested. These peculiarities have compelled them to rely on a spectrum of legal instruments. Firstly, I will discuss the interconnections between law, violence, the state, and (de-)civilizing processes. I will argue that Norbert Elias’s conception of violence needs to be amended to fully understand the extent of the violent make-up of the state as a political mode of organization. In a second part, I will return to the notion of cultural genocide and the debates around this concept. In the last part, I will explain how Canada is still perpetuating genocide against Indigenous peoples through various pieces of legislation and the use of courts.

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