Not all colonies are created in the same way. Whilst under imperial domination colonies are sustained and exploited to support the metropolitan centre, settler colonialism functions through an invasive structure that seeks to eventually replace original populations. The key word here is structure, which, as Patrick Wolfe reminds us, is a defining characteristic of settler colonialism. Rather than limited to the event of first contact between settlers and Indigenous peoples, the work of settling plays out over a sustained period through a logic of dominance through elimination that continues long after the arrival of the first settlers. Examples of settler colonies include nation-states such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand which encompass Indigenous nations within imposed national borders.
The continuation of colonial structures even after the fact of independence from the metropole (for example, the U.S. breakaway from Great Britain) is a core contention between postcolonial theory and Indigenous studies. This hinges on the terminology of the prefix “post” in postcolonialism. Whilst, as we have seen, there are varied interpretations of the term “postcolonial” that might permit for more expansive, less temporally limited applications of the term, the fact remains that Indigenous nations still live under colonial domination – a condition that postcolonial studies has perhaps not been as carefully attentive to as it has to other global conditions of coloniality.
Global Social Theory: https://globalsocialtheory.org/concepts/settler-colonialism/
Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, ‘Decolonization is not a metaphor‘, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1, (1), 2012,