Society for Cultural Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
The public hearing process for the approval of oil and gas pipelines in Canada requires by law that pipeline companies consult with Indigenous peoples who would be affected by the development. The National Energy Board, though, structures each pipeline's hearing format using regulations that produce a distribution of aurality which constructs the Indigenous as intrinsically oral, pre-lettered, and thus pre-modern. Indigenous people's ability to express themselves freely are constrained by the NEB's regulations, furthering an extractive process that literally reinscribes the earth. These techniques of aurality are thus a contemporary legal mechanism by which settler colonialism is reproduced. This paper demonstrates how this operates, using as case studies the Northern Gateway and TransMountain pipeline hearings.