Beyond settler time: temporal sovereignty and indigenous self-determination
Rifkin’s book presents a novel and ambitious perspective in analysing the process of land dispossession and forced assimilation of Native Americans during the consolidation of the U.S. national state in the nineteenth century and its afterlife. The author assembles an analytical point of view based on the extant of multi-temporal frameworks of Native/Indigenous being-in-time highlighting the need for an understanding of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination in political terms, considering their ways of life, but not necessarily constraining the concept to governmental or legal conditions. By exploring stories found in memoirs and novels, and drawing on conceptualizations of time and perception ranking from an ample array of disciplines, Rifkin argues that in order to fully understand and criticize the process of violent dispossession, it is necessary to take into account that the conventional narratives on Indigenous peoples are framed under the temporal perspectives of the settlers. Those narratives imply natives as either belonging to a past that no longer exists, or as an anachronism of modern times, restraining them of their own ways of becoming. His provocative analytical perspective also aims to uphold the political stance of native activists and intellectuals who strive against the idea of inclusion of Indigenous peoples within the United States because this would impede their own self-understanding as a polity, distinct from the settler state. On the other hand, this idea of inclusion would also obscure how settler colonialism has intended to force Indigenous peoples to be part of one single, common national territory.
Aguilera, C. (2018). Beyond settler time: temporal sovereignty and indigenous self-determination. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2018.1456671