Travis Wysote is a Listuguj Mi’gmaq researcher, currently studying at Concordia University on Haudenosaunee territory. He holds a Master’s degree in Art History and Communication Studies from McGill University, a Bachelor’s degree in Honours History from the University of New Brunswick, and is currently working towards his Interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities at Concordia University. His research interests are related to Mi’gmaq history and settler colonialism, with writings on Mi’gmaq treaties, the aesthetics of sovereignty, the politics of genocide recognition, and the state of exception. Travis’ current research analyzes the aesthetics of resurgence and refusal enacted in the documentary films of Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, with particular reference to his family’s roles in Incident at Restigouche and Our Nationhood.
“Don’t Touch Me. I’m Sovereign!”: Grounding Sovereignty with Ceremonies of Refusal
Beginning with Mi’gmaw warrior Suzanne Patles who was arrested mid-ceremony during the 2013 New Brunswick anti-fracking conflict, this essay contemplates the notion of Canadian sovereignty from the Mi’gmaw perspective and offers some observations as to why, in general, Indigenous peoples continue to reject, resist, and refuse Canadian sovereignty. The first part traces the introduction of sovereignty-as-violence to a series of scalping proclamations issued in 1749 by Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant General Edward Cornwallis and suggests that British-turned-Canadian sovereignty remains rooted in an exceptional disposition towards Indigenous peoples. The second part explores how violence-as-sovereignty imagines its own exceptional time and space, and counters these abstractions with Lakota philosopher Vine Deloria Jr’s radical challenge to think of sovereignty, history, and time in terms of place. Lastly, the third section returns to Patles’ arrest to suggest that Indigenous peoples have solved the paradox of sovereignty by grounding it in ceremony.
Talk Date: April 27, 10:45 – 12:15 Panel II (closed): Reimagining Relations
Venue: University Senate Chamber
Talk Date 2: April 28, 3:00-4:45 Public Panel II Reimagining Relations