Disabling bodies of/and land: Reframing disability justice in conversation with indigenous theory and activism

JAFFEE, Laura
JOHN, Kelsey
Publication Date 
2018
23 pp

A central claim of this paper is that the destruction of Earth through practices of settler colonialism is inextricable from the disablement of Indigenous ontology, peoples, and communities. The disablement of land/body as a tactic of settler colonialism has persisted for centuries and takes multifarious forms. By highlighting Indigenous struggles to protect Mother Earth and her sacred resources, we suggest that Indigenous ontology, specifically relationships to land (Deloria, 1972), challenges Eurocentric/settler disability theory at the epistemological level by rejecting the taken-for-granted dualism between the environment and (disabled) humans within (settler) disability studies. Indigenous ontology, and Indigenous peoples’ experiences of settler colonialism, belie a clear bifurcation of humans and the environment, or bodies and space. Land appropriation, resource extraction, linguistic genocide, forced removal, erasure, and devastation by settlers invariably wreaks havoc on the land, spirit, livestock, and bodies of Indigenous peoples. Rejecting logics of elimination and imagining alternative futures- in opposition to the capitalist state’s projection of futures devoid of disability and Indigeneity- is essential for realizing national and bodily self-determination for non-Indigenous disabled and Indigenous peoples in the present and into the future.

 

Disability and the Global South, 2018, Vol.5, No. 2

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