Unsettling Public Spaces

Elisabeth Paquette
University of North Carolina


In this article, I offer an analysis of space and place by drawing on Afro-Canadian author Katherine McKittrick’s Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle (2006). Specifically, I engage in an analysis of how colonial spaces (for instance, the space that is currently Montréal, Canada) were and continue to be constructed through the movement and labour of Black bodies, and Black women in particular. One result of such an approach is that reclaiming colonized spaces enacts an unsettling of the presumed homogeneity of those spaces, for example, dismantling understandings of specific spaces as solely white settler spaces. 

Important to such processes of re-evaluation is to understand the role that public monuments have for settlers to assert their presumed colonial right of place in the New World, a presence that is asserted against the existence of Indigenous peoples in those places. To this end, I draw on Jean M. O’Brien’s [White Earth Band of OjibweFirsting and Lasting: Writing Indian Out of Existence in New England (2010) to make evident that the erection of statues of colonial figures serves a dual function: to erase the labour of Black peoples in the constructing of colonial spaces, and furthermore to displace the memory and continued presence of Indigenous peoples’ relation to place. 

Furthermore, I propose that, in spite of settler colonial organizations of space through the erection of monuments, new and/or different forms of place-making are possible. Drawing from Afro-Caribbean theorist Sylvia Wynter’s discussion of key conceptual resources such as “ceremony” and “demonic ground,” I argue that the reclamation of public spaces through collective movements that have torn down confederate and colonial statues across the Americas serves to erect new public “monuments” and memories (albeit in a different fashion).


In her 2006 book titled Demonic Grounds, Afro-Canadian theorist Katherine McKittrick makes evident the co-constitution of the organization of space/place and the construction of Black and white identities. Drawing upon the works of Édouard Glissant and Sylvia Wynter, McKittrick also offers tools for thinking about how space and place might be ordered otherwise, no longer hierarchical and white supremacist. In a similar vein, Jean M. O’Brien [White Earth Band of Ojibwe] in her 2010 book titled Firsting and Lasting offers an account of settler colonialism perpetuated through the demarcation of space and place, not only through the erection of monuments but also through the ceremonies that seek to maintain them.

Drawing upon the works of McKittrick and O’Brien and by turning primarily to Black and Indigenous histories in Canada and the United States, the focus of this paper is how monuments can seek to purify landscapes of non-dominant histories and geographies. Such attempts at purification are in many ways central to modes of white supremacy and settler colonization. Not only do I seek to offer an account of the roles that monuments serve for perpetuating settler colonization and white supremacy, but also develop an understanding how space and place might be ordered otherwise. 

The purification of landscapes through the erection of monuments is quite unsettling, and affective responses by Black and Indigenous communities to this feeling of being unsettled is evident in historical and present-day responses to colonial monuments globally, and confederate monuments in the U.S. South. Within a different vein, through processes of purification, monuments and the systems of dominance that maintain them, seek also to unsettle non-dominant conceptions of place and histories. And yet, never completely succeeding, there are and have always been resistances to these processes of purification. While the writings of McKittrick and O’Brien offer the tools to think through this process of purification and the experiences of unsettling brought with it, I seek to expand upon their discussions, and unpack what is involved in unsettling settler colonial and white supremacist conceptions of place. Specifically, I argue that not only must public spaces be unsettled, but that this unsettling is a dynamic process, rather than a moment or event. Finally, and most importantly, I argue that processes of unsettling not fall into a narrative of inclusion because it requires an understanding of fluid and temporal relations to place.

The contexts, terrains, histories, and texts that I move through in this paper are varied. Between Canada and the United States there are distinct histories that impact (for the purpose of this paper) Black and Indigenous peoples that ought not be collapsed[2]. With this in mind, there are also histories that collide between these texts and geographical contexts. For instance, British colonialization existed in Canada and the U.S., and French colonization also existed within these two distinct locations and involved genocides and forced relocations of Indigenous nations (too many to name here). Furthermore, in each distinct context, slavery existed. It is also important to note that colonization continues to exist within Canadian and U.S. nations states, as do extractive forms of colonization perpetuated by these nations beyond their borders. Furthermore, drawing on Christina Sharpe’s conception of the “afterlives of slavery[3],” anti-Black racism continues to exist in Canada and the U.S. As such, without dissolving differences into the same (history), I seek to bring these contexts into relation.

Like a landscape impossible to epitomize[4]

In Demonic Grounds, McKittrick seeks to provide an account of the racial-cum-sexual oppression experienced by Black women (drawing primarily from examples in Canada and the U.S.) by addressing the gap between what she calls Black geographies and traditional geographies[5]. McKittrick’s attention to Black women’s geographies engages not only in how space/geography is organized, and also how the organization of space impacts Black women in particular. Pertinent for this paper is McKittrick’s development of two concepts: dominant geographies and alternative geographies. Dominant geographies—which employs transparent space, the presumption that dominant geographies are readily knowable and clear[6]—corresponds to systems or logics of domination propped up by racial-sexual codes[7]. It is through dominant geographies that Black peoples are construed as “ungeographic[8],” presumed invisible, out of place, or as present yet absent[9]. McKittrick draws on numerous examples of the experience of being ungeographic, such as the feeling of being out of place and thus not belonging in a particular space, presumptions of inexistence in spaces (whether historical, for example, in the presumed absence of Afro-Canadians prior to the 1900s, or in the present). Alternative geographies are those “spatial practices black women employ across and beyond domination”[10] and they exist alongside and across dominant geographies[11].

There are numerous ways dominant geographies have historically maintained and continue to maintain allocations of who belongs in certain spaces. In their essay titled “Property and Whiteness,” Joshua F.J. Inwoods and Anne Bonds note that “property rights in the U.S. are rooted in racial domination[12]” insofar as property “both organizes the land but also orders and regulates people[13].” Historically, McKittrick describes the Code Noir[14] as determining the ways people who were enslaved in New France (what is now Montreal, Quebec, Canada) were required to move around the city was reinforced by dominant geographies of white supremacy and slavery[15]. And yet, at the same time, alternative geographies were produced through, and under, and across the Code Noir. Actions of enslaved populations, their work and movement, served to produce a space that exceeded the Code Noir in two distinct yet overleaping ways. Labor and life served to support or produce whiteness and white profit[16] insofar as whiteness and profit were dependent upon slave labor. As such, and second, these white spaces were “at least in part, black geographies” because they were occupied by Black slaves[17],  which interrupts the Canadian narrative of the absence of slavery[18]. In recognizing the existence of Black geographies through and across geographies of domination, the point is not to excuse or delimit the force or harms of dominant geographies, but rather to affirm the continued existence of alternative geographies despite the force of geographic domination: whereby “black geographies cite a spatial terrain that makes available a place—and places—to produce and/or underscore varied responses to geographic domination[19].”  

In a similar vein, in “Disrupting a Settler-Colonial Grammar of Place,” Mishuana Goeman [Tonawanda Band of Seneca] describes grammar as “that which provides a system of rules, indexes, and thus forms certain patterns, structures, and meanings[20].” Drawing on the writings of Hortense Spillers[21], Goeman offers an articulation of the ordering force of the grammar of white supremacy and colonialism to explicitly address the organization of space, through which bodies are also constructed.

There are a variety of ways such grammars were constructed historically and which continue to have significant impact in the present day. For instance, as Timothy J. Stanley notes in “Commemorating John A. MacDonald[22]”:

The renaming of the territory [currently known as British Columbia, Canada] by European invaders, which blotted out the existence of Indigenous names, is evident in maps as early as 1855. In 1886, writing one of the first histories of British Columbia, Hubert Howe Bancroft pointed out what he called the “Extermination of Savage Nomenclature” was integral to European colonization[23].

The project of renaming Indigenous places and spaces is not only a form of colonial control over space and bodies (control over who could move in and through those spaces, and who could determine how those spaces were used and/or maintained) but also reinforces a European conception of property and rights. This process of establishing the dominant geography and seeking to erase (in this example) Indigenous conceptions of space, place, and by extension Indigenous relations to land, rights, and politics is central to settler colonialism.

While the documents Stanley describes are from the 1880s, and McKittrick description of the Code Noir are from 1685 and 1728, it is important to make note of how “Racism and its consequences literally becomes part of the material and symbolic structure of everyday life[24],” i.e., not only the naming of streets and cities, but also city planning, and the constructions of buildings. These are aspects of settler colonization that continue to this day, that continue to unsettle Indigenous and Black communities and relations to place which aligns with an unsettling feeling experienced by Black and Indigenous peoples.

Towards this end, McKittrick states the following: “I am emphasizing here that racism and sexism are not simply bodily or identity based; racism and sexism are also spatial acts and illustrate black women’s geographic experiences and knowledges as they are made possible through domination[25].” The feeling of being unsettled is thus an ontological concern, of ones being in place, or of being/feeling out of place. Furthermore, consistent with McKittrick’s description of alternative geographies above, there has always been resistance to dominant geographies, not only as outright refusals by marginalized communities but also in and through the movement, labor, and care of (and for) marginalized communities. As such, there is nothing necessary or natural about dominant geographies, and space can be (and is) organized otherwise. While Black geographies and Black subjectivity can seem fixed and settled[26] according to dominant narratives, this is only so through violent practices of subjugation[27].

It is for this reason that addressing white supremacy and colonialism requires that we address the organization of space, and specifically geographies of domination. Given that identity is inherently bound up in the construction of space, domination and liberation are also bound up in spatial organization, and thus alternative conceptions of space are necessary.

To purify the landscape[28]

Jean M. O’Brien’s Firsting and Lasting engages in an analysis of the role monuments play for constructing place. As previously mentioned through the work of McKittrick, space and place are (often) organized through dominant and alternative geographies simultaneously[29]. Bringing McKittrick and O’Brien together, I seek to make explicit how colonial and settler monuments (for instance) operate to maintain and perpetuate dominant geographies.

The first point of concern is what O’Brien describes as U.S. New Englander’s desire to “to purify the landscape in particular ways[30],” looking primarily to the years between 1820 and 1880. O’Brien describes the complexity and contradictions inherent to this process of purification. For instance, U.S. New Englanders narratives of relations to place required the presence of Indigenous peoples at first contact so that they might claim a justified[31] right to the land: “First Indians gain their fame by authorizing these transactions [of inviting the English to settle among them, through peaceful occupation]; their ancestors then give way to the processes of replacement in their homelands through the production of modernity[32].” “First Indians” are included in the narrative of settler colonialism only insofar as they both invited settlers to occupy their lands, and also to lay the foundation for settler appropriation of lands and by extension the dispossession of Indigenous lands. Part of the process of purification of the landscape, therefore, is the manner through which the appropriation of lands is included in the settler imaginary of relations to place. Through this settler lens, the appropriation of Indigenous lands is justified (and for “the common good”) given settler desire for, and tendency towards, “growth and development of the nation[33].” Such growth and development are thereby conceived as efficient, and not “savagery and waste[34],” the latter of which was (and in many ways continues to be) attributed to Indigenous nations and peoples, a process which involves the erasure of Indigenous peoples in the present and modern times.

Second, “Indian history and culture did find other ways into the story lines of New England places. Local histories regularly included an Indian presence woven into the landscape, especially in the form of retained Indian place-names and in an intense interest in Indian relics and remains. Like much of local history writing, such portrayals situate Indians securely in the past, separating them neatly as part of nature instead of culture[35][36].” In this sense, the process of settler purification of landscape is not the complete erasure of Indigenous place. Rather, Indigenous places become incorporated into settler narratives which reinforces the presumption of a peaceful transfer of land and power, which then justifies settler claim to place and reinforces settler conceptions of property rights (which of course were neither peaceful nor justified).

The erection of monuments serves to reinforce settler relations to the lands and Indigeneity in a similar manner:

Historical monuments perform a complex array of memory work. What we mean by “memory work” is the myriad of ways in which monuments imbedded in a social fabric play a role in how individual and collectivities make meaning of the past as distinct from the concrete matter of what actually happened. Monuments are erected in the hopes of fixing existing memories about the past so that the individual, group, or event commemorated is not forgotten and…in some ways, monuments signal a sort of desperation, in that the fear of forgetting lurks not very far from the surface in the urge to commemorate[37].

There are two points integral to Blee and O’Brien’s discussion of monuments in relation to geographies of domination. First, monuments attempt to fix a space, to make space static, offering a “flattened historical interpretation[38]” and often replacing “a dynamic Indian site that inspired Indian ways of remembering their history from their own points of view[39].” As such, “they implicitly make arguments about what counts as legitimate history, and who counts as legitimate peoples[40].” The mode of fixing memories, of fixing histories, and thus also fixing peoples (through relations to place) serves to erase Indigeneity and Indigenous relations to place. Monuments become a kind of focal point for dominant geographies.

Second, monuments also often serve to demarcate a “fear of forgetting,” or to reassert an authority of permanence. Against a threat of impermanence, this memory work serves to construct futures as well. O’Brien describes how monuments are kept alive through commemoration: “For monuments to animate the past they need to be embedded in social networks. Monuments engage both the past and the present to make claims about the future[41].” Cultural commemorations serve to recirculate settler narratives, and are part of the reason why they maintain their power. Therein, we see an attempt to introduce a conception of permanence to place[42], and yet this conception of permanence requires commemoration through ceremony, a continued re-assertion of permanence. This animation of monuments through social networks serves to keep them from falling into obscurity. It is perhaps for this reason why there is renewed attempts by those who seek to keep the memory of the civil war alive in the U.S., for example, not simply by maintaining the monuments and statues that are throughout the U.S. South, but also by renewed attempts to bring them back to life, to make them alive.

            Despite the assertion of dominance, the existence of alternative and resistant geographies has always existed. O’Brien offers various accounts of “nineteenth-century Indian geography of survival that the overwhelming bulk of historical material argues against[43].” For example, William Apess’[44] “Eulogy on King Phillip” “challenged the very mode of memory and commemoration” of settlers[45] and “argued for the enlivening of memory and for its reproduction into the future[46],” while calling attention to the violence of commemorative practices[47]

            As such, we can see the ways in which monuments serve as perhaps the foremost example of dominant geographies, that seek to establish settler colonial and white supremacist conceptions of place (for instance) by erasing Indigenous and Black conceptions and relations to place (and history, identity, culture, politics). Furthermore, this attempt to purify the landscape requires the presumption of fixity, which a monument can be conceived of as providing, and yet requires the continued assertion of this fixity and permanence. Given this analysis of monuments as maintaining geographies of domination, in the next section I turn my attention to the various ways that these monuments can be and are unsettled.


Our landscape is its own monument[48]

Monuments can serve to mark the land according to geographies of dominance, and attempt to undo Black and Indigenous organizations of space and relations. At the same time, according to Blee and O’Brien, monuments can serve “as a site of intervention, an opportunity to disrupt settler memory and install an alternative temporal consciousness[49].” There are various projects in the U.S. and Canada that have sought to engage in such interventions by removing or renaming monuments (of various scales). Such interventions take place in public spaces, private universities, by federal and state or provincial employees/bodies, and/or by community members. For the purpose of this paper, however, there is a particular example that I would like focus my attention on.

At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (UNC) in the U.S., located in what has been described as the front door of the university, stood the statue referred to as Silent Sam. This was a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier sculpted by Canadian John A. Wilson and erected in 1913. Paid for by the Daughters of the Confederacy and approved by the university in 1907, the ceremony that accompanied the unveiling of the statue included speeches that espoused white supremacy and the confederacy[50]. Recordings of defacement of the Silent Sam statue exist through the 1960s through 2018 and reached their culmination on August 20th 2018, when the statue was toppled by protestors. The protests began at 7:00PM and by 9:20PM the statue was felled. This particular protest of August 20th sprung out of support for UNC doctoral student in History, Maya Little, who had previously and courageously defaced the statue and was to appear in court that day. Little, a woman of African descent, had previously poured red ink and her own blood on the statue of Silent Sam.

The felling of this statue is an important moment. It is a gesture that seeks to change the visible landscape of the university, and doing so can have significant positive affective impact on marginalized communities. I would like to remind my readers of my discussion above, of the unsettling feeling of having to pass by a statue that symbolized white supremacy by someone who is Black. But also, as previously discussed, the creation of landscapes of white supremacy and settler colonialism exceed statues or monuments themselves. So, rather than thinking of this example solely as a removal or renaming of monuments, I want to think of the productive work that was undertaken, and to think through how this productive work can be understood as doing the work of unsettling white supremacy.

Toward this end, we need to remind ourselves what needs to be unsettled in this context. For instance, it is consistently clear that the motivation for this statue is to maintain and fix spaces of white supremacy. This is evident not only in the ceremonies that existed when the statue was erected in 1913 but also in the (not so) coded language of Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, government bodies, and white communities today. We can also note that for over 100 years, the university (whether it is the university administration, or state legislation or legal institutions) have protected this statue for many generations, despite the continued protests that surrounded it.

Following Blee and O’Brien: “When remembrance of a shared past emphasizes positive values and downplays conflict, it can be more widely and readily consumed[51].” Monuments often seek to simplify or rewrite history to the benefit of one group over another, thereby fixing an organization of place (as previously discussed). Blee and O’Brien’s emphasis on consumption seems particularly apt, given that monuments are often taken up into settler imaginaries.

That said, I argue that unsettling requires that we think through the relations between history, ceremony, and radically alter relations to place.

First, the process of unsettling requires a dismantling or unwriting of the simplified and dominant histories of white supremacy. Against such easy consumption, this statue became a site where the memory of place can be challenged. Perhaps more pointedly, this unsettling requires the enlivening of alternative, marginalized histories and this enlivening always already challenges the purified landscape that the monument, and its ceremonies, seek to maintain.

 Second, the memory or history of a place is maintained, fixed, or purified through the enactment of dominant ceremonies. As such, the commemorations surrounding the maintenance of this statue continuing to be violent. But, at the same time, thinking alongside Sylvia Wynter who not only calls for the unsettling of the coloniality of being but also for a ceremony to be found[52], the protests that surround this monument are a form of ceremony that commemorates Black peoples who were enslaved and whose blood was shed for the creation of that space. Little’s act of pouring red paint, symbolizing the blood of Black enslaved peoples spilled by slavers to build cities and institutions like the university, requires a re-evaluation of what this statue stands for. And perhaps even more so, Little pouring her own blood requires a recognition that the spilling of blood is not located in the past, but has been reproduced into the present, and will continue into the future.

What I want to make explicit here, however, is that the function of unsettling is not about finding ways to include multiple histories within a particular place, but rather of transforming the ways in which relations to place are established and developed over time. The place of convergence, and the production of new space that comes to be through these interventions and convergences, ought not be a reproduction of possession of land, but an engagement with the dominant organizing of place. As noted by McKittrick, “The claim to place should not be naturally followed by material ownership and black repossession but rather by a grammar of liberation, through which ethical human-geographies can be recognized and expressed[53].” 

The protests surrounding and the tearing down of the Silent Sam statue served to make explicit contentious makings of place in North Carolina. It makes the explicit converging histories, of histories of violence and domination and histories of survival. In this way, it serves to unsettle dominant geographies, seeking the dispossession of place. The frustration and “justified resentment[54]” against the continuation of colonization and present-day implications of histories of slavery that becomes concentrated on the statue as a focal point, is a coming together, and a collective process of an enactment of alternative geographies, alternative histories, and the convergence of different organizations of place that is different from the conceptions of property rights that have propped up white supremacy. The convergence is neither linear or bifurcated, rather it is complicated by multiplicitous histories in place, various forms of oppression and resistance, and ought not be subsumed into a singular and purified or fixed narrative. Engaging in dispossession is a process. And in many ways, this is because alternative histories, and alternative geographies, do “not unfurl in a single continuous thread that is traceable from end to end, but instead proceeds nonlinearly, through shocks, quakes, and traumas[55].”

Opacity can maintain this complexity.

For Glissant, the value of opacity is not located in the concealing of histories and geographies: “The opaque is not the obscure[56].” Rather, he is concerned with the consumption of histories, as wholly knowable and transparent, that serves to reinforce geographies of domination and also the purification of landscapes previously discussed. Opacity as “subsistence within an irreducible singularity[57].”

And third and finally, this process of unsettling also requires a conception of fluidity in relations to place. Recalling Blee and O’ Brien, “once fixed on a landscape, monuments become enmeshed in the complexities of life that are in constant change[58].” But “the landscape is dynamic, not a fixed and stable location that freezes time and place[59].” Against conceptions of fixity of place, it becomes important to maintain fluidity. It is not the moment, or the event, of the toppling of the Silent Sam statue that is solely at issue. Rather, it is a continuous unfurling of histories, converging, re-narrating and recollecting, intervening on dominant geographies, shifting and changing over time. Following O’Brien and McKittrick, Black and Indigenous futures spring from these processes of unsettling, a process that we all, especially those who of us who are settled and settling, must continue to engage in today.


Drawing on the writings of Katherine McKittrick and Jean M. O’Brien, I demonstrate how monuments attempt to eliminate Black and Indigenous communities, histories, and relations to place. As such, monuments serve as a focal point of logics of domination. Further, I argue that unsettling logics of domination is a process, not an event. While examples abound of the toppling of monuments that reinforce logics of domination, this event is just one moment of the process that serves to unsettle these spaces. I argue that unsettling public spaces takes place through the convergence of multiple alternative histories, that continue to unfurl over time, and whose relations to place are fluid and accountable to histories of domination.


Blee, Lisa & Jean M. O’Brien, Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

Coulthard, Glen Sean, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Glissant, Édouard, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essay, translated by J. Michael Dash, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989.

Glissant, Édouard, Poetics of Relation, translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2010.

Goeman, Mishuana R., “Disrupting a Settler-Colonial Grammar of Place.” In Theorizing Native Studies, edited by Audra Simpson & Andrea Smith. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014, 235-265.

Inwood, Joshua F.J. & Anne Bonds. “Property and Whiteness: The Oregon Standoff and the Contradictions of the U.S. Settler State.” Space and Polity 21, 3, 2017, 253-268.

McKittrick, Katherine, Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

O’Brien, Jean M., Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Sago, Kylie, “Beyond the headless Empress: Gabriel Vital Dubray’s statues of Josephine, Edouard Glissant’s Tout-monde, and contested monuments of French empire.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Vol. 41, Issue 5, 2019, 501-519.

Sharpe, Christina, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Spillers, Hortense, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book.” Diacritics Vol. 17, Issue 2, 1987, 64-81.

Stanley, Timothy J., “Commemorating John A. MacDonald: Collective Remembering and the Structure of Colonialism in British Columbia.” BC Studies, 204, 2019/2020, 89-113.

Wynter, Sylvia, “The Ceremony Found: Towards the Autopoetic Turn/Overturn, its Autonomy of Human Agency and Extraterritoriality of (Self-)Cognition.”, in Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck’s (Eds.) Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015, 184-253.

Wynter, Sylvia, “The Ceremony Must be Found: After Humanism”, boundary 2, 12, 3, 1984, 19-70.

Wynter, Sylvia. “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being / Power / Truth / Freedom: Towards the Human, after Man, its Overrepresentation—an Argument.” CR: the New Centennial Review, Vol. 3, Issue 3, 2003, 257-337.


[1] This paper would not have been possible with the support of various communities. Many thanks for the editors and reviewers of NaKaN for all their comments and support. I wish also to thank maggie castor for introducing me to some of these texts in our directed reading, and to my Theories of Resistance class and Indigenous Feminisms class for our discussions around many of these texts. Finally, I thank my spouse Andrea J. Pitts for continued support in and around these projects.

[2] Of course, the histories of oppression in Canada and the United States extend far beyond Black and Indigenous peoples. But, due to the length of this paper, I cannot account for all positionalities. Hopefully, however, the arguments against settler colonization and white supremacy developed in this paper will be applicable to other forms of oppressions experienced by communities who are not named in this paper.

[3] Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Durham, Duke University Press, 2016, p. 5.

[4] Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, translated by Betsy Wing, Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press, 2010, p. 159.

[5] Katherine McKittrick, Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2006, p. x.

[6] Ibid., p. 5.

[7] Ibid., p. 3.

[8] Ibid., p. 5.

[9] Ibid., p. 99.

[10] Ibid., p. xvii.

[11] Ibid., p. xiv.

[12] Joshua F.J. Inwood & Anne Bonds, “Property and Whiteness: The Oregon Standoff and the Contradictions of the U.S. Settler State,” Space and Polity, 21, 3, 2017, p. 255.

[13] Ibid., p. 264, emphasis original.

[14] Katherine McKittrick, op. cit, p. 110.

[15] New France (or what is now the city of Montreal in the province of Quebec in Canada) was a colony of France, and therefore the Code Noir of 1685 and 1728 that McKittrick makes reference to came from the French royal authorization of slavery that extended beyond this context to other French colonies.

[16] Katherine McKittrick, op. cit, p. 113.

[17] Idem.

[18] Ibid., p. 93, p. 97-98.

[19] Ibid., p. 95.

[20] Mishuana R. Goeman, “Disrupting a Settler-Colonial Grammar of Place,” in Theorizing Native Studies, edited by Audra Simpson & Andrea Smith, Durham: Duke University Press, 2014, p. 237.

[21] Hortense Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” Diacritics, 17, 2, 1987, 64-81.

[22] John A. MacDonald (1815-1891) was the first Prime Minister of Canada (1867-1873, 1878-1891).

[23] Timothy J. Stanley, “Commemorating John A. MacDonald: Collective Remembering and the Structure of Colonialism in British Columbia,” BC Studies, 204, 2019/2020, p. 104-105.

[24] Ibid., p. 113.

[25] Katherine McKittrick, op. cit, p. xviii, emphasis mine.

[26] Ibid., p. xi.

[27] Ibid., p. xii.

[28] Jean M. O’Brien, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2010, p. xxii.

[29] It would be problematic to assume that all spaces are organized according to a dominant narrative.

[30] Jean M. O’Brien, op. cit, p. xxii.

[31] I wish to note here that neither I nor O’Brien are stating that these claims are justified. Rather, settlers sought to create a justification for their dispossession of Indigenous lands.

[32] Ibid., p. 26.

[33] Ibid., p. 32.

[34] Idem.

[35] Ibid., p. 35.

[36] An additional example O’Brien provides is as follows: “The obsession with Indian relics participated in the project of purification by literally burying Indians, and it interacted with another essential move: nothing symbolized modernity more powerfully for New Englanders than their imposition of their own system of ownership over Indian homelands.” Ibid., p. 36.  

[37] Lisa Blee & Jean M. O’Brien, Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit, Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 2019, p. 7, my emphasis.

[38] Ibid., p. 59.

[39] Idem.

[40] Jean M. O’Brien, op. cit, p. xviii, my emphasis.

[41] Ibid., p. 59.

[42] Ibid., p. 98.

[43] Ibid., p. 171.

[44] William Apess (1789-1839), who identified as Pequot and was an ordained Methodist minister, wrote what is often referred to as among the first Native American autobiographies, titled A Son of the Forest, and published in 1829. His “Eulogy on King Phillip” was a public lecture he gave in 1836.

[45] Jean M. O’Brien, op. cit, p. 184.

[46] Ibid., p. 185.

[47] Ibid., p. 186.

[48] From the following quote: “Our landscape is its own monument: its meaning can only be traced on the underside. It is all history.” Édouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essay, translated by J. Michael Dash, Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1989, p. 11.

[49] Lisa Blee & Jean M. O’Brien, op. cit, p. 203.

[50] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Sam

[51] Lisa Blee & Jean M. O’Brien, op. cit, p. 13.

[52] My implicit reference here is to three of Sylvia Wynter’s essays, they are as follows: Sylvia Wynter, “The Ceremony Must be Found: After Humanism,” boundary 2, 12, 3, 1984, p. 19-70; Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being / Power / Truth / Freedom: Towards the Human, after Man, its Overrepresentation—an Argument,” CR: the New Centennial Review, 3, 3, 2003, p. 257-337; Sylvia Wynter, “The Ceremony Found: Towards the Autopoetic Turn/Overturn, its Autonomy of Human Agency and Extraterritoriality of (Self)Cognition,” in Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck’s (eds.) Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2015, p. 184-253.

[53] Katherine McKittrick, op. cit, p. xxiii.

[54] Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2014, p. 105-129.

[55] Kylie Sago, “Beyond the headless Empress: Gabriel Vital Dubray’s statues of Josephine, Edouard Glissant’s Tout-monde, and contested monuments of French empire,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 41, 5, 2019, p. 509.

[56] Édouard Glissant 2010, op. cit, p. 191.

[57] Ibid., p. 190.

[58] Lisa Blee & Jean M. O’Brien, op. cit, p. 29.

[59] Ibid., p. 16.