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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes