Date of Degree

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Sociology

Advisor

William Kornblum

Committee Members

Barbara Katz Rothman

Phil Kasinitz

Barbara Alice Mann

Subject Categories

Sociology

Abstract

On February 28, 2006, members of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations reserve in southern Ontario physically occupied and halted construction on a housing development bordering their reserve. The Haudenosaunee claimed that the site was part of a larger tract of land that they had never surrendered, and they vowed to remain on the land as long as necessary prevent the planned development from taking place. When police had still not removed the Haudenosaunee protesters almost two months later, some 2,000-3,000 local non-Native residents began voicing their frustration and anger in regular anti-protest rallies. On some occasions, these rallies escalated to the point of what one local politician called "intense, irrational anger" and even "near riots." This Sociological study examines some of the factors motivating both the 2006 protest, and the reactions to it by local non-Native residents and their federal, provincial and local government officials.

Based on legal, archival and ethnographic research; media analysis; GIS mapping; and 45 interviews with residents of the town of Caledonia and the Six Nations reserve, as well as with local government officials, a few conclusions are reached. In examining the motivations for the 2006 protest, the results of the legal and archival research suggest that the Canadian government violated its own Supreme Court of Canada rulings, as well as its binding international legal commitments regarding the human rights of indigenous peoples. This research also suggests that these violations of the rights of indigenous peoples have long constituted the norm in Canadian society, producing a climate in which Native peoples are regularly dehumanized and dispossessed. In examining the various responses to the protest, the dissertation pays particular attention to the ways that non-Native residents and government officials constructed and acted upon various settler-colonial narratives when seeking to justify their responses to the protest. The dissertation argues that both these narratives and the legal violations can only be understood within a broader context of problematic patterns of thought and behavior that have long been inherent in--and even foundational to--Western society and the Western cultural worldview.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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