Unsettling Indian Water Settlements: The Little Colorado River, the San Juan River, and Colonial Enclosures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the United States, indigenous nations are settling water claims for access to the continent's surface waters. This legal-political process transforms the nature of indigenous water use to conform with logics of quantification that are foundational to western water laws. This article critiques Indian water settlements by highlighting the inherent limitations and marginalisation of indigenous water rights in two recent examples of water settlements, the Little Colorado River Water Settlement in 2012 and the San Juan River Water Settlement in 2005. This article argues that Indian water settlements are forms of colonial enclosures, built on a lineages of law that replicates and perpetuates settler-colonial dispossession. These settlements enclose upon unquantified Indigenous rights in the interest of colonial-capitalist expansion in the western states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-723
Number of pages19
JournalAntipode
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Indigenous
  • colonial-capitalism
  • enclosure
  • settler-colonialism
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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