Decolonizing Authority: The Conflict on Wet'suwet'en Territory

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One of the leading features of colonialism is the imposition on a given territory and people a framework for what constitutes authority that renders pre-existing governing practices and legal orders unrecognizable as features of legitimate law and governance. Understood in this way, colonialism renders Indigenous law and governing practices invisible. As a result, decolonization requires changing how authority is apprehended and not only how it is distributed. This article compares two frameworks of authority in relation to the conflict on Wet'suwet'en territory: liberal postcolonial statism and relational pluralism. It shows how each framework provides a distinct lens through which to understand the pertinent features of political authority but argues that relational pluralism presents a better account of how to reconceive political authority in the context of real-world conflict.




Eisenberg, A. (2022). Decolonizing Authority: The Conflict on Wet’suwet’en Territory. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 55(1), 40–58.

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