Often, exhibitions and displays that attempt to tell the story of colonial contact use words like “encounter”, “exchange” and crucially, “arrival”, to describe the historical moment at which cultures met and settlers arrived. These kinds of words serve to obscure the violent episodes that often characterized colonial arrival.

Particularly in places like Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand, (or those landmasses that are currently widely known by these names), the arrival of Europeans marked the beginning of a settler-colonial epoch that is still being resisted to this day.

The word “invasion”, then, points to the fact that Indigenous peoples never relinquished their sovereign custodianship of their lands and lifeways, and the violent nature of the settler claim to “discovery” and “settlement”.

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