On June 17, 2010, representatives of the Indigenous Haida Nation held a ceremony to formally return the “Queen Charlotte Islands,” a name that had been colonially imposed on Haida Gwaii, their ancestral homeland and sovereign territory since the nineteenth century. This ceremonial return is analyzed as a process through which the Haida Nation can incorporate settler governance into a regime of respectful relations that functions on Haida terms. Framed simultaneously as the rejection of an unacceptable imposition and a respectful act of relationality in its own right, the ceremony offers a searing critique of colonial domination and invites settler powers into an alternative modality of relationship based in mutual understanding and respect. Through this process, I argue, the Haida Nation constitutes itself concurrently as a particular kind of political entity with clear traditional antecedents and essentially equal—if not superior—relationships with foreign governing powers.


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pp. 62-86
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