By A. Bell
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Additional info for Relating Indigenous and Settler Identities: Beyond Domination
Authenticity is always shadowed by the inauthentic, the debased and degraded. This means the ‘originality’ projected onto indigenous peoples has been simultaneously viewed as a state of purity and innocence and as one of brutishness, these paradoxical valuations co-existing and co-dependent, each being Indigenous Authenticity and Settler Nationalisms 29 drawn on as required to serve the political ends of the moment (Hall, 1992: 307–14). Later, in the biological theories of fixed racial difference that developed in the nineteenth century, non-white races were each deemed inferior to the white race of the colonizers, the races set out on a hierarchical scale of shades from white to black, from the epitome of humanity to the hardly human at all.
I glory in our wonderful West and I hope to leave behind me some of the relics of its first primitive greatness. [ . . ] These things [scenes of indigenous life in British Columbia depicted in her paintings] should be to we Canadians what the ancient Briton’s relics are to the English. 14 Australia Aboriginal Australians were frequently seen as the most primitive of the New World peoples, at times considered incapable of development and frequently characterized within a racial rather than primitivist frame.
3 By the logics of authenticity, the settlers were themselves doubly inauthentic – both modern and out of place – while indigenous peoples were cast as the site of this desired authenticity – both primitive and the people of the land. In the following section the intersection of ideas of authenticity, primitivism and essentialist conceptions of cultural identity are sketched out in more detail. A primary contention of this book is that these ideas continue to haunt the construction of indigenous and settler identities and their relations.