Indigenous resistance in the 19th century was recast as criminal activities, enabling the US and Canada to avert attention from their own illegality. The imposition of colonial law, facilitated by casting Indigenous men and women as savage peoples in need of civilization and constructing Indigenous lands as lawless spaces absent legal order, made it possible for the United States and Canada to reduce Indigenous political authority, domesticating Indigenous nations within the settler state, shifting and expanding the boundaries of both settler law and the nation itself by judicially proclaiming their own criminal behaviors as lawful.

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