National Association of Student Anthropologists
Anthropology of Consciousness
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
Mt. Scott-Arleta, the Portland neighborhood where I currently dwell, became part of US America through a Donation Land Claim in 1855. By 1841, proto-Oregon had strategically codified the settler-colonial land ideology that transformed Nsayka Iliʔi—land controlled by Pacific Northwest indigenous kin groups based on their uses of specific resources—into gridded land parcels for private ownership by a specific sort of citizen group: families headed by white men. In popular settler understanding, US American sovereignty over extensions of its empire was self-evident, but it took the threat of war between colonizers and colonized to actualize the “legalistic alchemy” sanctioning the creation of neighborhoods like Mt. Scott-Arleta, which today is 83% White and spatially-oriented around family households. Behind this composition is a political ecology that determines inclusion and exclusion on the basis of genealogical categories (species, race, and family). I will elaborate upon the population management strategies, material and ideological, that my neighbors and I employ to reinforce our spatial hegemony. How are our cultural constructs of genealogical identity groups translated into community? What part does the avoidance of living with genealogical others play in hiding the ghosts of whiteness? Why doesn’t the violence and displacement we’ve incurred in the name of love and sovereignty classify us as an “invasive species?” How do my neighbors respond when forced to discuss the environmental injustice foundational to our way of life?