About 'A Profound Reorganising of Things'

In early 2022, for the first time in its 34-year history, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) inched further toward acknowledging what Indigenous Peoples and First Nations have long known: that colonialism is a catastrophic environmental violence (Funes, 2022). The IPCC report named colonialism as a driver and exacerbator of the harms of climate change. What this overdue recognition understates, however, is the fact that climate change and colonialism are co-constitutive, rather than some more benign consequence of history. Indeed, as Red River M├ętis/Michif pollution scientist Max Liboiron (2021) argues, climate change is an inevitable manifestation of global colonial land relations: not merely the effect or symptom of colonial violence, but the enactment of this violence in and of itself.

Global failure to understand and engage with the colonial roots of the impending climate catastrophe both constrains our collective capacities to untangle this wicked problem and simultaneously works to secure settler futurity and white supremacy. This dynamic is mirrored in other political, economic, and social spheres in settler colonies: the incarceration of Bla(c)k, Indigenous, and peoples of colour; the gross and increasing economic divide between rich and poor both on global and domestic scales; the detention and mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees; poor health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples; as well as myriad other inequities and injustices, all of which can be traced to the corrupt land relations of (settler) colonialism.

Understanding these issues in this way holds systems and relations of power to account. It enables these violences to be understood as products of the complex entanglements of power that sustain settler occupation of Indigenous lands. That is to say, the incarceration of Indigenous peoples in so-called Australia is deeply implicated in the warming of the planet, is deeply implicated in the offshore detention of asylum seekers, and so on.

First Nations scholars and activists have led in the struggle to dismantle these corrupt relations, and continue to refuse, reject, and resist the terms of the settler order; to both dissect and dismantle colonial institutions and their violent excesses and reinvigorate 'Indigenous systematic alternatives'. This aspiration is towards what Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson calls 'radical resurgence'; a deeply political project that requires 'an extensive, rigorous, and profound reorganizing of things' (in As we have always done: Indigenous freedom through radical resistance. pp. 48-49).

The conference seeks to examine what might inform, shape, and give life to a radical reorganisation of our social, political and economic worlds. It invites participants to consider how contemporary injustices are enmeshed in relations of colonial power and explore how we might (re)imagine – and indeed already are (re)imagining – more just futures.

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