Forced Intellectual Landscapes

“Mr. Chairman, you have heard our witnesses. This is our Land. From the Brooks range to the Arctic Ocean, and from Canada to the Native village of Pt. Hope. It has been just a few years ago when you white people started coming in to stay. Even for the exploration of oil within the 2 petroleum reserve number four you didn’t do anything until 1945.

Mr. Chairman, when we were in Washington four months ago you asked us to answer a number of questions, one of these related to “unproven aboriginal title”. In the first instance, the words unproven aboriginal title is a misconception. There is no such a thing as unproven aboriginal title. The mere fact that you say “aboriginal” implies that someone was there before you were. So we were offended by the use of that phrase. Perhaps they are not proven to you, but that is because you do not know us. These claims are proven, just look at these barren lands out of which we four thousand Eskimos made our living. You can see that we had to travel many times a hundred miles to our various hunting camps. We occupied the whole 55 million acres on the North Slope.”
“Unfortunately, there are intellectual landscapes that have been forced forced on Aboriginal peoples – for example, the languages of rights, sovereignty, and nationalism. These intellectual traditions, stained by colonialism, have created discourses on property, ethics, political sovereignty, and justice that have subjugated, distorted, and marginalized Aboriginal ways of thinking. Throughout the history of the relationship, these Eurocentric discourses have created for Aboriginal peoples an intellectual landscape that in some cases has been purposefully designed to exclude Aboriginal ways of thinking.”
Dale Turner, This Is Not a Peace Pipe: Toward a Critical Indigneous Philosophy 

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