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Criminal Empire: The Making of the Savage in a Lawless Land

This essay considers the history of criminalizing indigenous resistance and how the forces of colonization simultaneously framed such acts unlawful while permitting the dispossession and confinement of indigenous people.

From NYC Stands with Standing Rock:

Indigenous resistance in the 19th century was recast as criminal activities, enabling the U.S. and Canada to
avert attention from their own illegality. The imposition of colonial law, facilitated by casting Indigenous men
and women as savage peoples in need of civilization and constructing Indigenous lands as lawless spaces
absent legal order, made it possible for the United States and Canada to reduce Indigenous political authority,
domesticating Indigenous nations within the settler state, shifting and expanding the boundaries of both
settler law and the nation itself by judicially proclaiming their own criminal behaviors as lawful. 

Read the full essay here.