Relationship to the Land (Use Planning Provisions): Mapping the Limitations of the Settler Imagination in an Arctic Anthropocene
arctic , waste studies , settler colonial studies , critical GIS , research-creation , Nunavut , Nunavut land claims agreement
While legal scholars have applauded the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), which was the largest Indigenous land claim in Canadian history, as a watershed moment in Indigenous self-determination, the central role that resource extraction played in the negotiation and the final agreement is underexplored within the broader context of the colonization of Inuit in Canada. This thesis analyzes the central role non-renewable resources have played in the colonization of Inuit, from the surveys of the Geological Survey of Canada to the negotiation of the NLCA and how the entire frame for the NLCA had been predetermined by the settler colonial government of Canada, defined by settler ontologies of land that are legally supported by the Doctrine of Discovery. The three content chapters explore the tension between critical posthumanism and Indigenous ontologies, research-creation as a novel research method for exploring the contours of map making within a colonial context, and inhumanism as a theory for understanding colonial expansion using surveys, arguing throughout that understanding settler knowledges and ontologies of land is critical to understanding colonization and extraction in Nunavut. As such, this thesis interrogates settler-colonial conceptions of land through maps, the histories of settler territorial expansion in the Eastern Arctic through geological surveys, and how Inuit and settler ontologies of land and nonhuman matter diverge to argue that we cannot understand waste issues in Canada’s Arctic without understanding the foundational role of settler expropriation of land through geology.