Paternalism, Capitalism, and Political Suppression: Case Studies of Settler-Colonialism on the Grand River




Wilcock, Cory

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The Haudenosaunee of the Grand River have received immense attention as objects of study by academics, but agents and systems of colonialism have been overlooked. As such, this thesis applies a settler colonial framework to the Grand River to examine how the interplay between individual settlers, corporations, and the colonial government unfolded. Because the end point of settler colonialism is acquiring Indigenous land, there are often similarities in the process across geographic and temporal boundaries. However, the goal of this thesis is to identify unaccounted structures and processes in order to demonstrate the distinct ways that settler colonialism developed on the Grand River. This is done through two case studies that take place during two different centuries in order to identify the through lines of how settler colonialism operated as both a structure and a process on the Grand River. This thesis focusses on the Grand River Navigation Company of the 1830s, the 1924 coup d’état at the Ohsweken Council House, and the conclusion briefly discusses the 2006 Kanonhstaton land dispute in order to thematically unite the cases. Over the course of three centuries settlers, corporations, and governments used paternalism, capitalism, and political suppression as tools to dispossess the Haudenosaunee.



canada, settler, haudenosaunee, grand river, colonialism, haldimand tract, grand river navigation company, kanonhstaton