Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws (LLM)

First Advisor

Ruth M. Buchanan


Indigenous peoples struggles of the right to self-determination are often framed as claims against a unified state. However, explanation of the forces inhibiting the expression of Indigenous self-determination should not settle with an understanding of the imposing power of the state. As I show, the realization of self-determination is undermined by the cumulative effects of legal practices and knowledges that contribute to the division of collective autonomies and disruption of their governance practices. In this transnational and comparative work on the emerging right to consent to resource extraction in South Africa and Canada, I argue that we might understand these dynamics by examining self-determination as a response to legal violence. I explain that legal violence in contemporary post-colonial conditions is expressed spatially through the categories of property and jurisdiction. One of the effects of conditions of legal violence is not only dispossession, but that Indigenous peoples assertions of self-determination and autonomy face settler counter-claims decrying internal conflict as evidence of subaltern political instability and inferiority. The analysis covers local contexts, national jurisprudence, and transnational norms related to the right to consent in both countries.


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