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THE FUTURE'S PAST: POLITICS OF TIME AND TERRITORY AMONG DAKELH FIRST NATIONS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

This article examines contemporary political movements among Dakelh First Nations in British Columbia that have challenged Western modernity's fixation with a future achieved through industrial progress. Aboriginal people have been especially assertive in politicizing the connections between time and place through the display and performance of memory in forms as diverse as life history narratives, the cultural landscape, media and grass-roots development projects. Such constructions suggest that future developments in traditional lands must come through an engagement with the past - its meanings, practices, and significance in the particular places of cultural and economic production. I explore how Dakelh territories serve as sites for imagining and enacting alternative political and development agendas. I argue that these territories have increasingly become spaces forged in the margins of modernity's binary oppositions of self-other, nature-culture and future-past. This finding is not meant to marginalize indigenous territories conceptually or politically, but rather to recognize their centrality to contemporary provincial politics where margins - both geographic and discursive - have become central locations for pursuing sovereignty over land and nation.

Keywords: Dakelh; First nations; political movements; territory; time

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0459.2006.00224.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography 8 Stewart Hall University of Missouri Columbia, Mo 65211 USA, Email: larsens@missouri.edu

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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