North American Genocides: Indigenous Nations, Settler Colonialism, and International Law

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Cambridge University Press, 2019 - History - 253 pages
"That genocides of Indigenous Peoples occurred in North America has long been contested. They have tended to be dismissed with little or no informed scholarly argument - either historical or legal, and forgotten by the dominant society. We use the Conventional account of genocide - presented in the United Nations Genocide Convention and subsequently developed in international fora - to demonstrate that if the events in our case-studies were to occur today they could be prosecuted as genocides. It is our hope that if their occurrence can be demonstrated using this standard, widely-accepted legal definition of genocide, the untenability of such denial will finally be recognized. This dismissal of massive historical trauma and violence has allowed writers of Indigenous history to either avoid the topic altogether in their textbooks, or to mention it only briefly in passing. The result is a public woefully uninformed about the nature of both past and ongoing colonization in this hemisphere, and its impact on Indigenous Nations. We hope to undermine this state of denial about the foundations of North American nation-states, and to encourage the writing of official origin stories which are faithful to the past and which, by being so, can better serve present and future generations. And yet we, along with many others, are deeply dissatisfied with various features of the Conventional account. This is especially true of its failure to take seriously the role of culture in undermining, and destroying, human group viability. Accordingly, we offer a critique of the Conventional account in this regard, based upon the travaux préparatoires (drafting history) of the treaty, as well as on recent international case law and customary international law"--

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About the author (2019)

Laurelyn Whitt is Professor of Native Studies at Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada. The author of Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples (Cambridge, 2009), and co-author with Alan W. Clarke of The Bitter Fruit of American Justice: International and Domestic Resistance to the Death Penalty (2007), she has published widely in issues at the intersection of Indigenous Studies, Science Studies and Legal Studies.

Alan W. Clarke is Professor of Integrated Studies at Utah Valley University, and was a fellow of the Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security. He is co-author, with Laurelyn Whitt, of The Bitter Fruit of American Justice: International and Domestic Resistance to the Death Penalty (2007), and is the author of Rendition to Torture (2012).