Indigenous girls and the violence of settler colonial policing

Jaskiran K. Dhillon


In cities and towns across Canada, Indigenous girls are being hunted, harassed, and criminalized by local law enforcement agents and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These normalized outbreaks of state control, often punctuated by the use of deadly force, are not isolated incidents in an otherwise just and fair social order. Rather, they are reflective of Indigenous girls’ daily realities embedded within the structure of an ongoing settler colonial social context that has strategically invented the criminal justice system to secure and maintain settler sovereignty. As such, this paper aims to redirect our critical analysis of the policing and caging of Indigenous girls through the geopolitics of settler colonialism. In the wake of mass protests against colonial state violence throughout 2014, resistance decrying the justice system and insisting that #BlackLivesMatters and that Indigenous lives matter, I argue that we have an urgent need to listen to the stories that Indigenous girls have to tell. These are not just any stories, but narratives that profoundly destabilize the hubristic portrayal of Canada as a humanitarian nation cleansed of settler colonial rule.


Indigenous girls; settler colonialism; policing; colonial state violence; gender; criminality

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ISSN 1929-8692