Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper draws on my MA thesis research, which considered interviews conducted with a group of Government of Alberta employees working in the province’s offices for Aboriginal Consultation on land and natural resource management (colleagues whom I referred to as 'Indigenous Relations Specialists'). Situated within critical theory scholarship on settler colonialism, my inquiry investigated reconciliation as an emerging area of national memory and local practice. In order to mediate the relationship between larger structures and systems as applied to real instances of social interaction, I outline a ‘communities of practice’ approach (as first developed by Lave and Wenger) to studying settler colonial collectivities and settler discourse. I consider how the community of practice develops a shared repertoire—a crystallization of specialized knowledge and shared experiences—through which its members reflect on and organize their practice in a process of meaning-making that is continually negotiated and renegotiated. I advocate a feminist research ethic (following especially Haraway, Shotwell, and TallBear, and critique developed by Simpson) that works with such negotiation in more nuanced and deeply implicated relations to the tradition of knowledge that we critique— engaging in readings that amplify accounts of the ways in which we are involved in one-another’s lives. This research represents the beginnings of my exploration into what it means to be in relation with the subject of one’s critique, toward the development of a conception of situatedness that recognizes not only who or what we claim to know, but also who and what claims us.