Settler-colonial politics in B.C.'s consultation and accommodation policy: a critical analysis




Whittington, Elissa

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This thesis explores technologies of power that operate in British Columbia’s policy for consultation with Indigenous peoples about proposed land and resource decisions. I use the concept of settler colonialism to analyze the contents of British Columbia’s consultation and accommodation policy to assess whether and how the policy is oriented toward settler-colonial relationships. I analyze a British Columbia provincial policy document entitled Updated Procedures for Meeting Legal Obligations When Consulting First Nations Interim. By focusing on this policy document, I examine how power operates through settler state law and policy. I critically analyze three technologies of power that operate in British Columbia’s consultation and accommodation policy: the administrative law principle of procedural fairness, recognition politics, and the assumption of legitimate settler sovereignty. I consider how the policy’s focus on process reveals colonial power dynamics. Furthermore, I argue that recognition politics operate in the policy because Indigenous difference is recognized and some space is made for Indigenous actors to exercise authority, however the settler state retains final decision- making authority, which shows a colonial hierarchy of power. Finally, I consider how the assumption of legitimate settler state sovereignty that underlies B.C.’s law and policy is a source of authority through which the settler state has various types of power under the policy, including definitional power and final decision-making power.



Indigenous peoples, Settler colonialism, Settler state law