Disputed Lands in the Promised Lands: A Discourse Analysis of Nonindigenous and Indigenous Media Reports about Land Disputes in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the United States of America, and Canada
Stirling, Carolyn J.
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Indigenous nations have entered into a variety of relationships with settler-colonial nations as they seek to assert their sovereignty and retain control over their lands. However, land disputes stemming from treaty violations and contestation over land ownership and use have, at times, led to conflict and violence. The media has a powerful role in [re]presenting information, especially where differing views are involved. Media reports about conflicts, like land disputes, are often highly charged as differing views are presented and debated. As media portray different perspectives, discourses are developed and disseminated. Discourses about land ownership and use in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the U.S.A. and Canada are evident in the different views presented in media reports about land disputes. The thesis uses discourse analysis to compare the discourses used in 60 nonindigenous and Indigenous media reports about the Foreshore and Seabed controversy in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino dispute in Buffalo, NY, USA, and the Kanonhstaton reclamation in Caledonia, ON, Canada. Analysis of nonindigenous and Indigenous media reports about these disputes shows how emotive these disputes are and how they are symbolic of continued colonial appropriation of Indigenous lands. Nonindigenous media used discourses of entitlement and validation to justify colonial actions and to oppose Indigenous rights. In contrast, Indigenous media used discourses of Indigenous sovereignty to defend their lands and oppose continual colonial appropriation of their resources. These discourses exemplify the ideological control settler-colonial nations have and the struggles Indigenous Peoples have in asserting their sovereignty and protecting their lands.