Rethinking Inequality in a Northern Indigenous Context: Affluence, Poverty, and the Racial Reconfiguration and Redistribution of Wealth
Keywords:Indigenous, northern, inequality, forms of wealth, redistribution of wealth, culture, land, temporality, community
The Northern Review 42 (2016): 97–108
Canada represents a material and ideological structure designed to support a racially oriented reconfi guration and redistribution of wealth. That is, the sett ler colonial nation-state of Canada depends upon and aggressively supports changing the forms of wealth that Indigenous people had and have into forms amenable to the accumulation of capital, which in turn enables extracting that wealth for the benefi t of southern, “white” and, especially, elite social fragments. What is called inequality is not an accidental by-product of this process, or the result of a few misguided policies, but is a core, foundational, structural feature of contemporary Canadian society, supported by an integrated set of legal, political, cultural, social, and economic systems. What follows is an att empt to “unpack” or elaborate the foregoing argument, with particular att ention to the manner in which Indigenous ways of life challenge dominant notions of wealth and poverty, and concurrent att ention to how the broader discourse on inequality itself adopts a few assumptions about the nature of wealth, which may be in need of challenging.
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