Red Skin, White Masks

Daniel Tseghay’s review of Red Skin, White Masks by Glen Sean Coulthard illuminates the fraud of reconciliation, characterized by the accommodation forced on Indigenous nations by modern states. This violent transformation of noncapitalist forms of life into capitalist ones, quotes Tseghay, is a structure, not an event.

Challenging the disingenuous politics of recognition — which includes transfer of land, delegation of self-determination, and economic development initiatives from the state to Indigenous communities — “do little more than reproduce the systems of power they claim to uproot.” Integrating Indigenous governments into the resource-exploitation economy, he notes, signifies the defeat of Indigenous peoples.

Symbols of reconciliation, says Tseghay, function as diversions from revolutionary change. Dismantling white supremacy and other aspects of ongoing settler state colonialism, he argues, requires organizing around the ethic of mutual aid, unencumbered by the urge towards hierarchies. Quoting Coulthard, “For Indigenous nations to live, capitalism must die.”

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