Imperial or Settler Imperative? Indigenous Reserves as a Case Study for a Transcolonial Analysis of British Imperial Indigenous Policy
My paper presents a comparative analysis of the development of Indigenous reserve systems in British North America and Western Australia across the nineteenth century. The existing historiography seeks to comprehend the relationship between the British metropole and the colonial periphery, and two opposing frameworks of colonial governance have been developed. One holds that the British Empire operated as an interdependent system, in which colonial Indigenous policies were determined by overarching imperial imperatives based upon imperial capitalism and liberal humanitarianism. The other holds that the explosive growth of settler communities undermined these imperial imperatives and facilitated governance guided by the settlers' need for land, labour, and security. This paper seeks to end the tension between these two frameworks by using Indigenous reserve systems as a case study for understanding colonial governance. Through an analysis of correspondence between local and imperial administrators, this paper argues that the development of Indigenous reserve systems reveals an entrenched conflict between imperial and local administrators lasting throughout the nineteenth century, a conflict in which the local governments of British North America and Western Australia subordinated imperial imperatives of imperial capitalism and liberal humanitarianism to local concerns of security and sovereignty.
Copyright (c) 2017 Darren Reid
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to the Artbutus Review agree to release their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported license. This licence allows anyone to share their work (copy, distribute, transmit) and to adapt it for non-commercial purposes provided that appropriate attribution is given, and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this license are made clear.
Authors retain copyright of their work and grant the journal right of first publication.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.