Panel 16: Classification and coloniality

Veronica Gomez Temesio, University of Copenhagen, (chair)

Tiffany Dang, University of Cambridge,

Abstract: The Changing Nature of National Parks

Extraction is not limited to the mining industry, but rather it is a relational structure predicated on the oppression of weaker and poorer hinterland communities by central cities of concentrated economic and state power. This extractive divide—between metropolis and hinterland, urban and rural, town and country—is reflected in the landscapes of the Canadian national parks, which largely occupy the ‘remote’ hinterlands of the Canadian nation. The Canadian national parks system has been used as a systemic instrument for colonizing the so-called ‘frontier,’ since at least 1885, a year which marked the establishment of the first Canadian national park at Banff and the subsequent displacement of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Contemporary programs of tourism within national parks serve to uphold colonial imaginations of frontier landscapes as wilderness—unexplored, untouched, and uninhabited—stripping vast territories of their Indigenous and ecological sovereignties. Erased of Indigenous and ecological complexities, landscapes of the national parks are reduced by the global extractive capitalist machine into a frontier resource: massive playgrounds of constructed wilderness to which city dwellers can travel to escape urban life. On February 18, 2019, after nearly two decades of active negotiation, members of the Łutselk’e Dene First Nation voted in favour for the creation of Canada’s newest national park on the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories: Thaidene Nene National Park. Canada’s newest national park has a complex history, dating to the 1960s, when the first proposals for the park were put on hold due to protestation from the Dene. Recent renewed negotiations since 2001 have come a long way, proposing an unprecedented strategy centred on a joint co-management agreement between Denesoline, Territorial, and Federal governments, promising equality of all three partners. The story of Thaidene Nene follows the evolution of the Canadian national parks system, as a system of dispossession to a contemporary attempt at reconciliation and co-existence.

Mattias Borg Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen,

Abstract: Co-managing Coercion: The emergence of indigenous identity politics in Patagonian protected areas, Argentina

Protected areas in Argentina have seen a surge in co-management strategies by which indigenous groups are given access to decision-making processes hitherto denied local residents. In fact, these initiatives sit oddly with past and current park policies marked by repression, dispossession and forced resettlements. Co-management as a principle for environmental governance has occurred alongside the emergence of multiculturalism at large in Argentina, a country whose history is tainted by its ideals of European whiteness and their concomitant policies towards people of indigenous descent. Given the history of Argentina and the well-sustained critiques of the politics of recognition in settler colonialism, the question is to what extent co-management is a viable pathway for including indigenous groups in the governance of resources and landscapes. This papers critically reviews the literature on co-management in Argentina’s protected areas, most of which is published only in Spanish, and evaluates the range of impacts in terms of resource access and control, access to decision-making processes, and the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the territorial governance of protected areas. It thereby explores the question of whether the historically conditioned coercion associated with protected areas can be challenged by the emergence of identity politics in Argentina’s protected areas, particularly those of Patagonia. 

Stine Krøijer, University of Copenhagen,