Settler Capitalist Multiculturalism, Indigenous Refusal, and the Spectre of Bankruptcy: Rebecca Belmore’s Gone Indian

Haiven, Max. 2020. “Settler Capitalist Multiculturalism, Indigenous Refusal, and the Spectre of Bankruptcy: Rebecca Belmore’s Gone Indian.” in The Aesthetics of Ambiguity: Understanding and Addressing Monoculture, edited by Pascal Gielen and Nav Haq. Amsterdam: Valiz.

The text below is an early, not-yet-copyedited version

Settler Capitalist Multiculturalism, Indigenous Refusal, and the Spectre of Bankruptcy: Rebecca Belmore’s Gone Indian

Max Haiven

The tension between monocultures and multiculturalism, and the role of ambiguity in that relationship can be fruitfully explored by examining the work of celebrated Anishinaabe[1] performance artist Rebecca Belmore in which she responds to the ambiguities and complexities of Indigenous presence and resistance in the territories currently known as Canada. In this chapter, I provide a reading on Belmore’s 2009 performance Gone Indian, which took place outside the headquarters of the nation’s largest bank in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. The piece indexes the radical Indigenous refusal of inclusion within the hegemony of Canadian ‘settler capitalist’ multiculturalism[2], a reflection or refraction of ongoing Indigenous activist struggles against Canada’s ongoing colonial agenda of eliminating Indigenous presence on land to make way for the financially-driven extractive and logistics industries that are pivotal to the nation’s political economy. This elimination sometimes takes the form of direct violence (police repression), sometimes of indirect violence (poverty) and sometimes of ‘predatory inclusion’ within the dominant political and economic frameworks of the nation-state which nonetheless seek to eliminate Indigenous people as an autonomous and, importantly, land-based sovereign people.

Liberal and conservative commentators have maligned Indigenous protests, in both the political-economic and the artistic realm, as monocultural defensiveness out of step with multicultural realities, an immature (even self-defeating) attachment to tradition and an unrealistic demand for the recognition of a long-extinguished sovereignty.[3] But Belmore’s hauntological work in Gone Indian reminds us that much more is at stake. This example, and the broader struggles against Canadian capitalist settler colonialism indicate that it’s not so much that monoculturalism and multiculturalism are endlessly opposed, but that struggles emerge around how these two notions articulate. On the one hand, the Canadian state is eager (some might say desperate) to ‘include’ diverse Indigenous cultures within a liberalist multiculturalist capitalist framework in which many monocultures might exist under pax capitalis: the overarching rule of financialized neoliberalism. On the other hand, Belmore’s intervention, while it (like Indigenous blockades and protests) might be read as an expression of monocultural protectionism, is actually an invitation to reimagine what multiculturalism might mean, the kinds of engagements, relationships, kinships, and political formations that might have been possible and might yet be possible ‘underneath’ settler colonial capitalism. To do so, Belmore uses money and debt as motifs, as well as a hauntological strategy of calling up and out to ghosts: ghosts of what was, ghosts of what is, and ghosts of what might yet be on these lands.

‘Gone Indian’

It’s after midnight and a million people, many of them inebriated, ramble through downtown Toronto’s financial district on a warm September night.[4] As they make their way between the charismatic art installations of the 2009 edition of the city’s Nuit Blanche all-night public arts festival, some encounter a dilapidated and muddy burgundy van, a set of deer antlers affixed to its hood, its roof covered in an embroidered buckskin rug with a couple of old armchairs secured on top, as it drives slowly through the streets, blaring Indigenous pow-wow music (drumming and singing) from a large sound-system. Eventually, the van pulls up on the curb at the headquarters to the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the world’s largest financial institutions whose imposing two-tower edifice is literally made of gold infused into its glistening sheet-glass siding.[5] A crowd gathers, most of them non-Indigenous, to watch Gone Indian, a performance by Rebecca Belmore, perhaps Canada’s best-known and most celebrated Indigenous performance artists.[6] The title is a sly pun: the ‘Indian’ is gone from these lands, eliminated to make room for the bustling financial district and larger city; but ‘going Indian’ was also a phrase used to describe European ‘settlers’ who developed what were perceived to be unhealthy attachments to the place and its people, being adopted into Indigenous communities or otherwise abandoning what the British called ‘civility’ for ‘savage’ ways.[7]

Belmore’s performance was layered and ambiguous, blending Anishinaabe, Cree, and settler symbolism. Near the outset, Belmore, barefoot and wearing feather-adorned army-green coveralls and a black toque, placed several red cloth bags full of Canadian pennies at the periphery of the performance space and later cut them open with a knife, spilling the coins onto the sidewalk before tying the torn red fabrics to her ankle (red fabric is customarily used to wrap sacred objects). Meanwhile, celebrated Cree actor and dancer Michael Greyeyes, dressed in full pow-wow regalia, performed a series of choreographed modern dance routines, first to an Indigenous hip-hop track, next to a recording of pow-wow drumming and singing.[8] While Greyeyes’ movements referenced pow-wow dancing, they were original contemporary compositions, often exhibiting jerky, halting motions as if his body were at times possessed and/or constrained by unseen, unfriendly forces. The whole performance was quietly overseen and occasionally photographed by a silent Indigenous man conspicuously wearing dress pants, a white collared shirt, a black tie, a black fringed buckskin jacket, and sunglasses (despite it being nighttime), appearing as if a not-so-secret state or corporate agent. As the performance unfolded, Belmore, on her knees, used what appeared to be a heavy traditional stone mortar and pestle to attempt to grind the pennies as one might do to corn or medicines to produce an edible or healing powder. The performance ended with Greyeyes drifting, as if in slow-motion, through the space and Belmore giving up on her impossible task. The pennies remained scattered on the ground and the company drove away in the van.

This piece was intentionally ambiguous in part because, to my mind, it attempted to haunt the colonial imagination precisely at the fraught intersection where, drawing on the work of Sherene Razack, space meets place in a colonial settler state:[9] in this case the site where Indigenous land has been turned into a zone of financial speculation.

Belmore’s work has been particularly important, given that she has become one of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary Indigenous artists in spite of her unflinching critiques of settler colonial structural and direct violence, often with a focus on its gendered nature that targets Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit people.[10] Her selection by the Canadian government to represent the nation at the 2005 Venice Biennial, her many shows and retrospectives at prominent Canadian cultural and international arts institutions, as well as her inclusion in many large festivals (most recently Documenta 14) speaks not only to her talents as an artist but also to the vitality of Indigenous creative practices today. Canada’s celebration of this work is itself ambiguous, and the nation-state’s eagerness to associate itself with it (for instance, at Venice) is paradoxical, but, as I will argue, strives in part to send a message that only in so secure a multicultural capitalist democracy as Canada is such internal critique possible and welcome. Still, Belmore’s work is deeply radical, on a fundamental level by using the vehicle of contemporary art, a genre prized for its ‘presentness’ and ‘reflexivity’, as a means to implicitly and explicitly refuse the racist categorization of Indigenous people as trapped in an endless rehearsal of monocultural atavism.

It has long been a technique of colonialism to identify the Indigenous or non-Wester ‘others’ as benighted ‘prehistorical’ people, locked in totalizing monocultures, incapable of a reflexive impulse.[11] These others’ cloistered intolerance for cultural ambiguity is taken as evidence of their unfitness for full political participation or inclusion within the body politic and justifies their oppression, subordination, and exploitation. Eurocentric notions of multiculturalism typically erase or ignore the many and diverse non-Western traditions of cosmopolitanism, tolerance, and multicultural exchange, including those international and intercultural practices and networks that existed on Turtle Island (North America) before the invasion of Europeans.[12]

Belmore’s work, then, strives not to defend or shore up an Indigenous monoculture but, rather, to alert us to the spectral presence of other possibilities for intercultural encounter, and to the limits of the multicultural norm under which her audience is gathered, in the shadow of the nation’s largest bank.

In the Shadow of Genocide

For readers outside of Canada, some brief facts about Canada’s Indigenous people may be helpful. In the 2016 census, about 1.6 million people in Canada self-identified as Indigenous in one of three distinct groups: First Nations, Metis (of both Indigenous and Settler heritage) and Inuit (Indigenous to largely arctic areas). Of those self-identifying as First Nations, only three-quarters are acknowledged and registered as such by the Canadian government, largely because, over the generations, it has been official Government policy to strip Indigenous people of their status in order to assimilate them into the broader body politic. The Canadian government officially recognizes 634 distinct ‘First Nations’ governments in Canada with limited and highly scrutinized self-governance over small, fragmented territories (reservations) allotted and overseen by the Canadian government. Slightly less than half of all First Nations people make their primary residence in these communities, the other half living in other towns and cities. There are many Indigenous communities that are not recognized by the Canadian government, and the sovereignty of both recognized and unrecognized communities over assigned or the wider traditionally-held lands (in sum, practically the entirety of ‘Canada’) is not substantively acknowledged by Canada, leading to numerous conflicts. Recognized reservations constitute less than 1% of land in Canada and are, simply put, economically and politically dependent on the Canadian government.[13] Most are characterized by what the UN and major human rights NGOs characterize as ‘third world conditions’.

Many Indigenous people participate fully in the overarching Canadian society and represent many of the nation’s luminary legal, political, cultural, academic, and business professionals. Many Indigenous people practice various forms of traditional economic, social, and cultural tradition, either as a part of their identity or community or (though it has been rendered almost impossible) as a complete way of life. These practices differ widely between distinct nations. Yet in aggregate Indigenous people, especially those living on reservations, suffer catastrophic oppression, indexed by shocking health and social indicators. In 2011 the Assembly of First Nations, the (highly moderate) confederacy of Canada’s recognized Indigenous governments, reported that

One in four children in First Nation communities live in poverty… almost double the national average. Suicide rates among First Nation youth are five to seven times higher than [among] other young non-Aboriginal Canadians. The life expectancy of First Nation citizens is five to seven years less than [that of] other non-Aboriginal Canadians and infant mortality rates are 1.5 times higher. Tuberculosis rates among First Nation citizens living on-reserve are 31 times the national average. A First Nation youth is more likely to end up in jail than to graduate high school. First Nation children, on average, receive 22% less funding for child welfare services than other Canadian children. There are almost 600 unresolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada… In 2006, the unemployment rate for First Nation people living on-reserve was 25% – approximately three times the rate for non-Aboriginal Canadians [and] the average household income for First Nations living on-reserve was $15,958, compared to $36,000 (before taxes) for non-Aboriginal Canadians.[14]

There is a wide diversity of political opinion and debate within Indigenous communities, and in Canada as a whole, about how these indicators might be improved. While some are keen to offer neoliberal narratives that stress the need to make Indigenous people more active participants in the dominant capitalist paradigm, there is an increasing militancy among Indigenous people towards the reclamation of lands stolen by colonialism and a resurgence of lifeways and practices that colonialism actively sought to obliterate.[15] While sometimes this resistance and resurgence takes place in the realms of education, culture, and mainstream politics, increasingly it is taking the form of active and often militant refusal of Canadian government and corporate interference on both reserve and much broader traditional Indigenous lands.[16]

Today, Indigenous protests represent the gravest internal ‘threat’ to Canada’s pivotal extractive and logistics industries. These industries have long been central to Canada’s economic vitality; these sectors are, indeed, its raison d’etre.[17] Much of the area that is now claimed by Canada was once ruled by a private corporation, the Hudson’s Bay Company, a state-chartered British monopoly whose business was the extraction of furs and timber. The nation’s birth as an independent state was only possible with the building of railways, which both allowed for extracted resources of the interior to be brought to Atlantic ports and for European settlers to be shipped West to occupy Indigenous people’s lands.[18] Today, mining, oil and gas, and pipelines are crucial to the Canadian economy and crucial to its status as a prosperous G8 Nation in an age when much of its manufacturing base has been offshored.[19] The environmental impacts are severe. While Canadian civil society, including social justice and environmental non-governmental and activist organizations have protested politely, it has been Indigenous nations and activists who have established blockades, made meaningful legal challenges (thanks to the special provisions for Indigenous rights in the nation’s 1982 constitution) and disrupted business as usual, most potentially when mines, or the railways, roads or pipelines that serve them, cut through Indigenous lands.[20] For this reason, Indigenous activists have been targeted for surveillance, harassment, and repression by the nation’s police forces, often working hand-in-glove with the private security and intelligence wings or subcontractors of major mining and logistics corporations.[21]

As a result, many Indigenous intellectuals and activists have rightly identified the extractive and logistics industries, on which Canada depends, as the face of twenty-first-century colonialism. This, in spite of the fact that the nation-state has committed itself to an official policy of ‘reconciliation’ with Indigenous people.[22] Extractive and logistics companies almost all have jumped on the reconciliation bandwagon, and (with government encouragement) are eager to negotiate with Indigenous people and even cut Indigenous communities in on a share of the profits from their enterprises.[23] Yet a growing number of Indigenous nations are sounding the alarm that, while such a windfall can represent an important input of cash and jobs for systematically impoverished communities, they come at a terrible cost.[24] The ecological disruption and pollution many such projects bring or threaten (for instance in pipeline or tailings pond ruptures) risk making traditional Indigenous land-based practices impossible, including hunting, fishing, and the harvesting of traditional medicines.[25] Large extractive and infrastructure projects may indeed bring money and jobs, but in often remote communities they also bring problems including drugs, the inflation of costs, reliance on outside wealth, and ‘man camps’: temporary housing for (mostly non-Indigenous) workers (almost exclusively men) who come to work on such projects and bring with them a market for drugs, alcohol, and sex work. Numerous studies show that the presence of such extractive and infrastructure projects is often directly related to elevated rates of gender-based violence and the national epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.[26]

Yet the vast majority of Canadians, who live in the nations’ long-colonized cities or in rural areas never see this reality except for the occasional spectacle of an Indigenous-led pipeline blockade or land occupation when it makes headlines, and most Canadians have little or no interest in or knowledge of the extractive and logistics industries. Yet all are invested, literally and figuratively, in this 21st-century colonialism, which occurs not only in Canada but around the world. Some 40 percent of capital for the global extractive corporations is raised on Toronto’s Bay Street (like Wall Street, the one thoroughfare is a synecdoche for the larger financial district) and here are also the headquarters of Canada’s ‘big five’ banks, in which practically all Canadians (and Canadian institutions) have their savings, through which they manage their investments or where their debts are brokered.[27]

Finance and Multicultural Capitalism

So, Belmore’s choice of location at the headquarters of Canada’s largest bank is by no means coincidental. As I have elaborated elsewhere, the theft of lands from Indigenous people, and the elimination of Indigenous presence on those lands, has always been a financialized affair.[28] All three key dimensions of the so-called FIRE sector (finance, insurance and real estate) were essentially born in the crucible of European imperialism and (settler) colonialism: both stock markets and the joint-stock, limited liability corporation had their origins in Amsterdam and London in the financing of colonial ventures, settler colonies, and the slave trade.[29] In Belmore’s few public comments about Gone Indian she has stressed that, in transporting a pow-wow into the financial district, she is attempting to create a spectacle not so much of remembrance of the past but a haunting image for the attendees, the vast majority of whom are urban settlers.[30] Before this space was a financialized, colonized place (the headquarters of Canada’s largest bank) it was something, or somewhere, else, an Indigenous space. But the performance Belmore choreographed does not afford the viewer the satisfaction of the anthropological gaze so germane to settler colonies where, as Patrick Wolfe notes, the state attempts to continue its genocidal elimination of Indigenous presence on the land precisely by adopting, accommodating, and appropriating its chosen versions of Indigenous ‘culture’.[31] ‘We’, the audience, arrive expecting to be entertained; we leave haunted by ghosts that were always already hidden in plain sight.

The choice of the RBC headquarters is quite specific. As Canada’s largest bank not only does it inherit the legacies of financialized settler colonialism, which for instance financed the fur trade on which the nation was built, or the expansion of the railway across the nation, which led to the mass displacement of multiple Indigenous peoples. RBC is also a key participant in the continued colonization of the land today: the bulk of the savings and investments it manages are routed through firms on Canada’s nearby TSX stock exchange, where by some estimates 60 percent of global extractive industry venture financing is generated.[32] Indeed, Canada has repeatedly named the extractive industry, both at home and abroad, as one of its key strategic economic interests.[33] This in spite of the fact that numerous international non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations have condemned Canadian and Canadian-funded mining corporations for environmental and human rights abuses both within Canada and around the world, especially as they have affected (and, indeed, targeted) Indigenous people and Indigenous lands.[34]

It is notable that, in 2009, Nuit Blanche’s breakthrough year as a signature public arts event, the one-night festival sold its naming rights to RBC rival Scotiabank, an institution that, as Peter James Hudson has demonstrated with finesse, has been pivotal to the ‘financial colonization’ of the Caribbean, long seen by Canadian banks and their international counterparts as a Bay Street zone of influence.[35] The selection of Belmore as one of the headline acts for this iteration of the festival represented an act of constrained subversion by the curators of the Bay Street component of the festival, the Toronto collective DisplayCult. The festival occurred almost exactly one year after the great financial meltdown of fall 2008, in which Toronto’s Big Five banks played a significant role and during which they quietly received a massive $114 billion (CAD) ‘injection of liquidity’ and loan guarantees (read: bailout) from the Canadian government.[36]

Scotiabank’s sponsorship of Nuit Blanche, and other similar banks’ sponsorship of similar blue-chip and populist cultural events represents an important example of the way Canada’s leading capitalist firms ‘buy into’ and support hegemonic notions of Canadian multiculturalism in ways that reinforce what might be called a capitalist state ideology of ambiguity.[37] As with their high-profile (and much protested) sponsorship of Toronto and other Canadian cities’ LGBTQ2 Pride Parades, Canadian banks are eager to associate their brand with a vision of Canada as a functional multicultural mosaic where diversity is synonymous with economic competitiveness on the world stage.[38] Here, a defanged ambiguity is the dominant aesthetic paradigm, not so much because it is the key content of all the artistic work, but because it is the syntax between them.

Underneath the multicultural superstructure that such festivities represent is the monocultural base of neoliberal capitalism with an extractivist flavour, a monoculture evident to even a casual observed who might have visited Bay Street only hours before Nuit Blanche in 2009: bustling, besuited businesspeople, who trace their heritage to all four corners of the globe (including, among them, Indigenous people), participating in the financial clockwork of Canada’s economic headquarters. Though it must be noted that the upper echelons of Canadian finance remains an ‘old (white) boys club’, with pivotal members from Canada’s long-standing political and economic ‘establishment’, its ‘front office’ appearance, and general tendency, is towards a logic of multicultural inclusion that would like to pride itself on reflecting Toronto’s broader reputation as the world’s most ‘diverse’ city.[39]

Still, this diversity is only skin deep. As Wall Street ethnographer Karen Ho notes, while investment banks may remain deeply racist institutions, they also tend to pride themselves on a certain corporate multiculturalism that resonates with a hyper-capitalist ethos and aesthetic: obeying only the ruthless logic of supply and demand, and valuing only talent and hard work, the diverse face of the firm reflects the beneficent power of colour-blind markets to help humanity transcend its regrettable mistakes of the past.[40] The preferred narrative, both within these firms and in the wider capitalist economy they (and their Canadian financial counterparts) superintend and discipline, is that now, at the proverbial end of history, there is a strict division between private multicultural expression and public corporate monoculture. Indeed, the freedoms of the former are only secured by the vitality of the latter: dress and act however you want on your own time, but here at the bank we have the corporate dress code and, more importantly, professional expectations that transcend difference.

This corporate multiculturalism is reflected by, and co-enables, the kind of shallow multiculturalism that is, in a strange way, the monocultural imperative of the capitalist settler colonial state of Canada: the economic vitality produced by an agreement on liberal democratic and neoliberal norms is the guarantee of the peace and freedom whereby each citizen might enjoy and reproduce their particular monoculture free of government interference.[41] Let us set aside for a moment the many, many occasions, past and present, when the Canadian government has intervened in the private rights of citizens to enforce white-supremacist, eurocentric or Christian (protestant)-normative values or police the allegedly ‘barbaric practices’ of non-normative citizens. What I want to stress is that such an approach fundamentally sequesters the category of activities labelled ‘cultural’ outside of the realm of politics and economics. One is free to engage in all manner of ‘cultural’ practices so long as they are not perceived to interfere with or challenge the reigning political and economic frameworks, only (we are told) within which (multi-)cultural freedoms are possible.

It is within this framework that dominant public and private institutions in Canada are so keen to support ‘culture’ as a key terrain of activity. It is precisely because ‘culture’ is safely separated from politics and economics that it can be so fetishized in events such as Nuit Blanche. The overarching aesthetic mood of this culture is one that dwells in and ultimately celebrates ambiguity. Belmore’s provocative, radical intervention is acceptable within such a spectacle not because it itself is ambiguous and reflective of the hegemonic thrust of settler capitalism (its ambiguity is, I suggest, actively and directly hostile to that hegemony). It is, rather, that when folded into the spectacle as a whole, this, and all the many other critical and subversive interventions, appears as merely one more tile in a tolerant, open-minded, worldly mosaic. The public and private supporters of ‘culture’ in Canada desire and celebrate a kind of ambiguity as evidence of precisely the values and features of the successful project of multicultural settler capitalism. As long as ‘culture’ remains quarantined from politics and economics, its contradictions, ambiguities, and conflicts can be safely digested.

There are many problems with this approach, but for now I want to return to the particular ways in which they impinge upon Indigenous people, a friction that has much broader implications. As numerous Indigenous theorists note, for most if not all Indigenous nations there can be no clean separation between the realms of economics, politics, and culture. Anishinaabe theorist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, for one, illuminates the deep integration of Indigenous storytelling traditions with practices of critical creative making, with modes of social and material production and reproduction, with the patterning of legal traditions and practices, and in relationship with the land itself.[42] The separation of politics, economics, and culture is, itself, a colonial notion and colonial imposition.[43] Therefore, the offer to ‘include’ Indigenous people in a project of state multiculturalism based on this distinction, the separation of ‘culture’ from a holistic and integrated way of life, is not only deeply alien, it is functionally genocidal: to accede to it would mean, conceptually and ontologically, to accept and conform to a worldview that is incompatible with Indigenous reproduction as such. On an even more material level, what would it mean for Indigenous people, who are defined as such by what Yellowknives Dene theorist Glen Coulthard calls ‘grounded normativity’ (a deep relational attachment to and sense of intergenerational reciprocity with ancestral lands), to be reduced to a set of ‘cultural’ practices detached from forms of governance (politics) and material provisioning (economics) in which that ‘culture’ is fundamentally embedded?[44]

Admittedly, Belmore, Simpson and Coulthard are radical voices within a diverse and often deeply divided landscape of Indigenous thought in Canada. Many (perhaps most) Indigenous people, and certainly most of the Indigenous political leadership, seek to reconcile themselves to seeking inclusion within the multicultural capitalist framework of the nation state, though with limited results given the persistence of anti-Indigenous racism and exclusion in all areas of Canadian society, from law to education, in both the public and private sector.[45] Yet their perspectives are the most clear-eyed, and foresee a contradiction that will continue to rear its head and lead to ever greater tensions, tensions that, if not named as the result of the contradictory logics of settler-colonial capitalism, will continue to be blamed on Indigenous people, whose ‘failure to thrive’ will be reduced to an unhealthy attachment to a retrograde monoculture that is unwilling or unable to adapt to the modern world.

Meanwhile, these contradictions have important implications for all people inhabiting the territories currently known as Canada. Constitutionally and economically, Canada’s multiculturalism and the freedoms it affords its citizens can only exist through the ongoing genocidal elimination (or predatory inclusion) of Indigenous people, a perpetual original violence at odds with the nation state’s ideological and legal claims to legitimacy, which on a material level lead, again and again, to crisis.[46] Meanwhile, such a formation inherently and implicitly insists that ‘Canadians’ trade the multicultural freedom to enjoy ‘private’ monocultural expression for acceptance of and (literal and figurative) investment in an overarching, hegemonic system of settler capitalism that, arguably, is not actually serving most people. Like most G8 nations, wages for working- and middle-class Canadians have stagnated in an age of precarious and episodic work.[47] This is to say nothing of the ongoing climate crisis that is driven by the very same logics of settler and colonial capitalism.


In Canada, settler colonialism itself has taken on a financialized dimension. Since the nineteenth century, the Canadian government has imposed on Indigenous communities a form of limited ‘self-governance’, mandated through the Indian Act, a set of laws for the governance of Indigenous life that, at one time, included restrictions on Indigenous people’s right to leave reservations without a pass authorized by a (white) Indian Agent, their right to hunt and fish, their right to practice Indigenous spirituality and ceremonies, their right to organize politically, their right to hire lawyers, their right to use modern farming implements and their right to speak their languages.[48] This Act also permitted the abduction of Indigenous children from their families to be placed in church-run Residential Schools, where they were severely punished for any behaviours deemed ‘savage’ (e.g. speaking their language) and where they were subject to the horrific predations and abuses of the clergy and staff, all of which is a matter of public record and discussion thanks to a landmark legal case by survivors that resulted in a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was ongoing during Belmore’s 2009 performance and released its final landmark report in 2015.[49]

Today, the administration of settler colonialism in Canada stresses Indigenous self-governance, but the top-down colonial framework still persists: as Shiri Pasternak has demonstrated, the Canadian government exerts profound and corrosive disciplinary pressure on Indigenous governments through financialized means.[50] In the first place, the Canadian government holds the purse strings for funds that support nearly all services on Indigenous reservations and uses a series of laborious and disciplinary accounting and reporting mechanisms to constrain and delimit Indigenous communities’ spending. Meanwhile, it holds out the threat of auditing and forced third-party management to dissuade those governments from taking actions that might jeopardize the colonial settler state’s interests, notably blocking or intervening in attempts to locate extractive industries (e.g. mines) or infrastructure (e.g. pipelines) on Indigenous lands.[51]

Meanwhile, the same neoliberal governments have sought to fix the ‘Indian Problem’ through financialized means. Responsibility for the endemic poverty and horrendous health and social indicators that characterize life on reserve is transferred from the Canadian government’s inaction and caustic paternalism to the failure of markets in those spaces.[52] Numerous governments have sought to dissolve Indigenous collective title to lands and transform them into individual fee simple holdings, the hope being that the introduction of private property will inspire entrepreneurialism, allow Indigenous people on reservations to borrow against their holdings, relocate to take advantage of labour markets elsewhere and, ultimately, lead them to become proper capitalist subjects.[53] Needless to say, this agenda has been strenuously rejected by many Indigenous nations, who insist that their communal, non-commodified relationship to a land base is at the heart of their existence as a people. For this reason, Patrick Wolfe and others, including Glen Coulthard and Audra Simpson, have noted that such market-oriented privatization schemes are part of a long genocidal tradition of seeking to eliminate Indigenous people’s autonomous land-based existence.[54] These schemes stand in stark contrast to Indigenous practices and orientations towards land-based self-sovereign resurgence that reject colonial constructs of private property.[55]

All these dimensions factor into Belmore’s performance. Settler colonialism has advanced by leveraging financialized mechanisms to transform land into property by eliminating Indigenous presence. Her temporary reclaiming of the bank’s space aims, in part, to reveal the imaginary and imaginative powers at work by transforming a financialized space back into an Indigenous place. It is not insignificant that Belmore here opts to work with pennies as well, an almost worthless unit of Canadian currency that the state ceased to mint in 2012. Copper, which originally gave the penny its unique colour and which has been a major target for ecologically destructive Canadian extractive interests for generations. Yet it has also been, since before the invasion of Turtle Island, a very important material for many Indigenous cultures, used for a wide variety of cultural, spiritual, and economic purposes.[56] The toxins released by the industrialized mining, transportation, and refining of copper (as well as zinc, from which pennies were most recently made) have disproportionately affected Indigenous people due to centuries of environmental racism.[57]

Belmore’s attempts to crush or pulverize this ubiquitous fetish object, stands in, perhaps, for Indigenous attempts to grapple with the poisonous financialized spirituality or belief system of settler colonialism, which in the end is reducible only to the pathological logic of capital itself: accumulation at all costs.

Belmore’s failure to crush the coins, and Greyeye’s ambivalent, fractured dance, may be read as resonant with the way financialized settler colonialism, past and present, has sought to subsume or subscribe Indigenous people in a system that perpetually thwarts their thriving. As Paula Chakravartty and Denise Ferrera da Silva illustrate, the contemporary global financial order is not only built on legacies of racism and colonialism, but, because of that, creates racialized financial subjects doomed to a kind of perpetual failure that is nonetheless profitable for others.[58] In their reading, this financialized system places non-white people in a state of perpetual, unpayable debt, a debt incurred as a subject who was never intended to thrive or succeed within a white-supremacist economic system, even (especially) if that system now (self-servingly) declares itself a colour-blind capitalist meritocracy.[59] The latest iteration of this is a form of what Jackie Wang and Keeanga-Yamatah Taylor—writing about the anti-Black racism and oppression in the US leading to, during and after the 2008 financial meltdown—identify as ‘predatory’ financial inclusion.[60]

Belmore and Greyeyes attempt to innovate Indigenous practices within a field of coins, in the shadow of the bank, surrounded by settler onlookers; their inability to succeed or thrive then becomes evidence of an unspoken and unspeakable debt that settler colonialism imposes on Indigenous peoples and communities. As with the case of settler colonial schemes to ‘civilize’ Indigenous people through the financialization of their lands, the gift is poisoned.[61] It follows on the heels of how European colonists used the ‘gift’ of Christian religion to destroy indigenous cultural, political, and spiritual resistance and autonomy, the weaponized ‘gift’ of blankets contaminated with smallpox as a means of biological warfare, or the way in which the Canadian government stripped Indigenous people of their rights over generations through the ‘gift’ of enfranchisement (assimilation as Canadian citizens).[62] ‘Financial inclusion’ here appears as the latest mystification of what could more fruitfully be seen as a multigenerational settler colonial campaign of revenge for the ontological crime of continuing to survive and occupy sought-after land.

Yet at the same time this performance might also be said to seek to awaken the audience’s sensibility to the unpayable debts owed by settler colonialism itself. With 13.5 million clients in a nation of 36 million, it is highly probable that the plurality of spectators at Belmore’s performance were invested in RBC. In this regard, all of Canada’s five hegemonic banks are equivalent: settler colonial capitalist citizenship requires one be invested, one way or another, in both the symbolic and the real perpetuation of the financialized seizure and destruction of Indigenous lands via one’s savings, investments, pensions, and other financial activity.[63] Further, the enjoyment of the built environment and of the rights of citizenship anywhere in Canada, and certainly in its financial capital Toronto, depends on a long history and legacy of financialized seizure of land and elimination of Indigenous presence.[64] Hence both the place of RBC Plaza and the material of the coins might be intended to awaken an awareness in the audience that they, too, are the product and the reproducers of a financialized form of settler colonialism, and that this system implies an almost sublimely huge moral and also economic debt.

For instance, the reparation settlement for the survivors of the Residential Schools alone (the largest for a class action suit in Canadian history, with upwards of 34,000 claimants) amounted to over $3 billion;[65] the monetary compensation and restitution for all historical harms, attempted genocide, and the systematic theft of Indigenous land, were it to be seriously entertained (it is not), would quite probably amount to a sum sufficient to bankrupt this G8 Nation.

Debt and Ghosts

Along with my colleagues Clea Bourne, Paul Gilbert and Johnna Montgomerie, I am exploring the usefulness of the metaphor and method of the spectral and ghostly as a means to trace the legacies and continuities of colonial violence in the contemporary financial system.[66] Such legacies can, in conservative political-economic terms, be difficult to parse, though recent efforts in the UK to account today for the residual wealth of the transatlantic slave trade, or the colonial exploitation of the Indian subcontinent are very promising, as are those in the US and Caribbean to account for the origins of today’s wealth in the institutions of chattel slavery, the better to claim reparations by the descendants of those system’s survivors.[67] Yet such accounting efforts quickly run into problems. In general, tracing money flows over centuries is akin to following the passage of water in the ocean’s currents: it’s not only that money is highly fungible but that not all transactions are recorded, and even if they were, the sources of the original funds are difficult to track. More generally still, such forensic accounting misses the forest for the trees: the money generated by world-historic acts of colonial and imperial cruelty and theft is itself only a paltry reflection of that crime, whose implications are far more profound. How does one account, for instance, not only for the wealth extracted from the Indigenous territories of what is currently called Canada when it only became ‘money’ when it reached the imperial metropole and was exchanged for other (also largely ill gotten) commodities? How does one account not only for the theft of Indigenous wealth but for the wholesale econocide of a complex network of pre-colonial systems of material provisioning that did not use money or value the personal accumulation of material wealth? Like attempts to explain Indigenous cosmologies in European languages, there is much lost in translation, and the loss is far from innocent.

For this reason, attending to the ambiguous power of ghosts is important for thinking through the ambiguous intersections of colonial violence and finance. As Marc Fisher notes, accounting for ghosts, applying what Derrida identified as a ‘hauntological’ method, is an attempt to contend with the ‘agency of the virtual’.[68] ‘The late capitalist world’, he writes, ‘governed by the abstractions of finance, is very clearly a world in which virtualities are effective.’ Likewise, Ann Stoler notes that the study of empire is a matter of ghostly work, excavating the undeniable but at times ineffable legacies, continuities, and resonances of colonial violence and extraction through to the present.[69] Ian Baucom’s Spectres of the Atlantic makes a strong case not only for accounting for the quantitative influence of the transatlantic slave trade on the ledgers of Europe, but also the qualitative ways in which that horrific business came to shape the methods and means of accounting for finance and its power.[70] In other words, Baucom and others invite us to consider how these exercises of colonial and racial power fundamentally reshaped the operations of financial institutions and protocols in ways that, while obscured, persist into the present day. This persistence, this haunting, finds its expression in the racist and neo-colonial ramifications of contemporary financialization, the way, for instance, the 2008 financial crisis disproportionately affected and targeted Black and Latinx Americans, the way the transnational politics of financialized debt continue to enable banks in the Global North to pillage nations in the Global South, or the predatory forms of ‘financial inclusion’ that seek to remedy the inequalities that stem from the legacy of colonialism with new forms of financialized exploitation.[71]

As Richard Gilman-Opalski notes, while the powerful, the victors of history, may be keen to expel or exorcise such spectres, there is a radical politics to ‘becoming ghost’, to recognizing and taking up the call of the ghost for justice and the righting of historical wrongs.[72] Likewise, Avery Gordon’s influential theorization of ‘ghostly matter’, the way historical injustices of race and class live on in the present, frames haunting as a profound call to revolutionary and transformative action.[73] In a world defined by the extortionate, domineering, and punitive financial debts of (neo)-colonial capitalism, the ghost can represent a claimant on a more profound, often unquantifiable debt owed to the oppressed and exploited.

Indigenous approaches to haunting and hauntology on Turtle Island have generally agreed that such unquiet ghosts haunt colonial institutions, including financial ones, a fact vividly emblematized by the persistent images of Indigenous people on the coins, banknotes and financial instruments (stocks, bonds) of the settler colonial nation states and corporations that are responsible for attempted genocide. Yet as Walter Cariou points out, for Indigenous peoples, ghosts are not (as they typically are in Western cosmologies) exclusively a negative or fearful revenant, come to claim a debt; many if not most Indigenous cosmologies include deeply meaningful and intimate relationships with spirits and ancestors, many of which are helpful to the living.[74] Indeed, as with many of the world’s non-Western cosmologies, many Indigenous cultures offer resources for the living to consider their roles as future ghosts. It is as a future ghost that Unangax theorist Eve Tuck, writing with C. Ree, reflects on what it means to live as an indigenous subject in conditions that, statistically, are overwhelmingly likely to lead to one’s premature death. In their Glossary of Haunting, Tuck and Ree note that

Settler colonialism is the management of those who have been made killable, once and future ghosts—those that have been destroyed, but also those that are generated in every generation … Settler horror, then, comes about as part of this management, of the anxiety, the looming but never arriving guilt, the impossibility of forgiveness, the inescapability of retribution. Haunting, by contrast, is the relentless remembering and reminding that will not be appeased by settler society’s assurances of innocence and reconciliation. Haunting is both acute and general; individuals are haunted, but so are societies … Haunting doesn’t hope to change people’s perceptions, nor does it hope for reconciliation. Haunting lies precisely in its refusal to stop. Alien (to settlers) and generative for (ghosts), this refusal to stop is its own form of resolving. For ghosts, the haunting is the resolving, it is not what needs to be resolved … Haunting is the cost of subjugation. It is the price paid for violence, for genocide … Erasure and defacement concoct ghosts; I don’t want to haunt you, but I will.[75]


Elsewhere I have mused on the political utility of settlers in Canada embracing its imminent existential, ontological, and financial bankruptcy as a methodology by which to imagine a world beyond both financialization and settler colonialism, which I think is urgently necessary.[76] For now I simply want to conclude by stressing that at stake in Belmore’s summoning of the spectres of unpayable debts is the question of in what currency, or through what terms, such debts might be repaid. As Coulthard has noted, in the name of ‘reconciliation’ the Canadian government has made millions of dollars of new funding available in a kind of histrionic and hypocritical generosity: the money is, after all, derived ultimately from land and resources stolen from Indigenous people in the first place.[77] Indeed, even in spite of this ‘generosity’, multiple levels of Canadian state administration have been found guilty in court of systematically underfunding Indigenous communities and people (especially children) relative to non-Indigenous Canadians.[78] By the same token, the colonial settler state has strongly encouraged (and at times blackmailed) Indigenous governments to accept profit-sharing agreements with extractive and logistics corporations for the (ab)use of their lands, even though the environmental and social impacts are ultimately destructive to those communities.[79] For these reasons, an increasing number of Indigenous nations and communities are resisting or rejecting monetary compensation or offers and instead—insisting on their sovereign rights to control access and use of their territories, in Simpson’s words ‘as they have always done’. This is a grounded sovereignty (which should not be mistaken for a replica of the Westphalian European model) that they are willing to defend through civil disobedience, blockades and, even, armed resistance.[80]

If this trend continues, the settler colonial state of Canada will soon find itself unable to pay its debts for colonialism with its own minted currency: the currency itself is a key part of the system that exacts the violence that continues to incur the debt. If that is the case, amortizing that debt will need to take place by other means, through the cessation of the economic and social violence. But this is arguably ontologically impossible within the current order: the state and the form of financialized, settler colonial capitalism with which it is entangled cannot endure a terminal challenge to the intertwined legal / political / economic logics of private property and territorial state sovereignty that such a cessation would implicitly demand. Repayment of the debt would quite literally both imply and require a revolution. In this sense, this unpayable debt is an unquiet, unreconciled, and unreconcilable ghost.

It is this ghost that Belmore, I think, is summoning or inhabiting or making kin with in Gone Indian. The piece appropriates and détourns the trappings of the Canadian economic system, and possesses or haunts its populist spectacle of monocultural settler capitalist multiculturalism, precisely to deliver an unspeakable, unsettleable, unsettling invoice. The invoice details not simply the tallied costs of the crimes of genocidal eliminationism waged against Anishinaabe and other Indigenous people, the loot of which somehow haunts Bay Street and RBC. It is not merely an accounting for the degradation and denudation of Indigenous monocultures but, rather, the spectre of other forms of multiculturalism, stillborn or killed off by the settler capitalist monoculture. By inhabiting the quarantined terrain of ‘culture’ and then refusing its separation from politics and economics Gone Indian refuses the very epistemological and ontological separation of that field from politics and economics and calls up the spectre of other potential social orders. The piece dwells with and mobilizes ambiguities, but not in the name of reifying a settler capitalist comfort in a multicultural cultural field based on an aestheticization of ambiguity. Rather, ambiguity here stems from what Tuck and Ree identify as the (monstrously) alien ‘refusal to stop’ that animates the unquiet, unrepentant, and unreconcilable ghost of Indigenous presence in a landscape where it is intended to be eliminated. It is not, as would comfort the settler capitalist imagination, simply a monoculture that refuses to die. It is the ghost of relationships beyond settler capitalist multiculturalism that could have been and that might yet be.


[1] Anishinaabe is an Indigenous cultural group made up of multiple different distinct and autonomous nations whose traditional territories surround the Great Lakes.

[2] The term settler capitalism is a shorthand for a system that entangles the features of capitalist accumulation and settler colonial dispossession. There is a significant debate about how these two terms might best be articulated, and which (if either) ought to have primacy. For a sample of this debate, see works including: Beilharz, Peter, and Lloyd Cox. 2002. ‘Settler Capitalism Revisited.’ Thesis Eleven 88 (1): 112–24; Coulthard, Glen. 2014. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press; Day, Iyko. 2016. Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism. Durham NC and London: Duke University Press; Nichols, Robert. 2020. Theft Is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory. Durham: Duke University Press. It should be noted that, while settler capitalism is most self-evidently the patterning of capitalist accumulation in settler colonies (like Canada, the US, Australia, etc.) is has different articulations in each of these spaces and is also an insoluble feature of global capitalism writ large.

[3] Black, Conrad. 2017. ‘Aboriginals Deserve a Fair Deal, but Enough with Us Hating Ourselves.’ National Post, August 4, 2017.

[4] Fisher, Jennifer & Drobnick, Jim, ‘Nightsense’, Public 23 (2012): 35–63.

[5] Bélanger, Pierre (ed.), Extraction Empire: Undermining the Systems, States, and Scales of Canada’s Global Resource Empire, 2017-1217 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), 178–79.

[6] Nagam, Julie, ‘(Re)Mapping the Colonized Body: The Creative Interventions of Rebecca Belmore in the Cityscape’, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 35, no. 4 (January 2011): 147–66,

[7] Belmore mobilizes the offensive term ‘Indian’ here ironically to refer to the settler colonial image of Indigenous people. In Canada, while ‘Indian’ remains a residually legally operative term, the Canadian government has, over time, replaced it with ‘Native’, ‘Aboriginal’, ‘First Nations’, and, more recently, in response to the preference of Indigenous communities, ‘Indigenous’. Meanwhile, the term ‘settler’ as a reference to non-Indigenous inhabitants reflects a move to decentre the normative notions of settler colonial belonging. However, this term has been critiqued for the way it erases distinctions and power relations between non-Indigenous people, for instance between the state’s ‘preferred’ white settlers and those non-White, non-Indigenous people whose ancestors’ arrival in Canada and whose belonging in Canada is not celebrated, especially Black people whose African ancestors were brought to the Americas in bondage.

[8] The Cree (Néhinaw) are a large Indigenous people, made up of many distinct nations and traditions, whose traditional territories stretch from Hudson’s Bay to what are today the prairie States of the US. They are closely related to the Anishinaabe people. Pow-wows are international Indigenous cultural gatherings that occur throughout Turtle Island (North America) in which traditional dance demonstrations and competitions in specific regalia are usually a key feature.

[9] Razack, Sherene (ed.), 2002. ‘When Place Becomes Race.’ In Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society, 1–20. Toronto: Between the Lines.

[10] Two Spirit is a term developed by Indigenous activists from multiple distinct nations and cultures to identify forms of Indigenous gender and sexual expression that fall outside the colonial heteronormative gender binary. A variety of evidence demonstrates that, prior to colonialism, various Indigenous peoples had distinct and pluralistic frameworks for practicing gender and sexual expression, and many of these traditions are still practiced, in spite of centuries of colonial religious and political efforts to make Indigenous people conform.

[11] See Haiven, Max, 2014. Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons. London and New York: Zed.

[12] See Mann, Charles C., 2006. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Vintage; Simpson, Audra. 2014. Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States. Durham: Duke University Press.

[13] See Manuel, Arthur & Derrickson, Ronald M., 2015. Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call. Toronto: Between the Lines.


[15] Barker, Adam J., 2015. ‘”A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty”: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigenous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism.’ Globalizations 12 (1): 43–65

[16] Pasternak, Shiri, 2017. Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake against the State. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press; Kino-nda-niimi Collective, ed. 2014. The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement. Winnipeg: ARP Books.

[17] Bélanger, Pierre (ed.), 2018. Extraction Empire: Undermining the Systems, States, and Scales of Canada’s Global Resource Empire, 2017-1217. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

[18] Cowen, Deborah, 2014. The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[19] Gordon, Todd and Webber, Jeffery R., 2016. Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood.

[20] Veltmeyer, Henry, and Petras, James F., 2014. The New Extractivism: A Post-Neoliberal Development Model or Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century? London: Zed Books.

[21] Crosby, Andrew and Monaghan, Jeffrey, 2018. Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

[22] Coulthard, Glen, 2014. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

[23] Wyile, Hannah, 2018. ‘“The Currency That Is Reconciliation Discourse in Canada”: Contesting Neoliberal Reconciliation.’ Studies in Canadian Literature / Études En Littérature Canadienne 43 (2).

[24] Manuel and Derrickson, Unsettling Canada.

[25] Burger, Julian, 2014. Indigenous Peoples, Extractive Industries and Human Rights: In-Depth Analysis. Brussels: European Parliament.

[26] ‘Resource Extraction Projects and Violence against Indigenous Women.’ 2019. In Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 1a:584–94. Ottawa: National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

[27] Deneault, Alain and Sacher, William, 2012. Imperial Canada Inc. Translated by Fred A. Reed and Robin Philpot. Vancouver: Talon.

[28] Haiven, ‘The Uses of Financial Literacy: Financialization, the Radical Imagination, and the Unpayable Debts of Settler-Colonialism.’

[29] Bourne, Clea & Gilbert, Paul & Haiven, Max & Montgomerie, Johnna, 2018. ‘Colonial Debts, Imperial Insolvencies, Extractive Nostalgias.’ Discover Society. September 4, 2018.

[30] Schechter, Fran., 2009. ‘Belmore on Bay.’ NOW Magazine. September 30, 2009.; see also Yuen, Kathryn, 2017. ‘Nuit Blanche: Illuminating the Spectacular and the Site-Specific.’ Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies/Revue d’Études Interculturelle de l’Image 7 (2).

[31] Wolfe, Patrick, ‘Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,’ Journal of Genocide Research 8, no. 4 (2006): 387–409.

[32] Deneault, Alain and Sacher, William, Imperial Canada Inc., trans. Fred A. Reed and Robin Philpot (Vancouver: Talon, 2012); Todd Gordon and Jeffery R Webber, Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America, 2016.

[33] Bélanger, Extraction Empire.

[34] Anaya, James, ‘The Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada,’ in Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, A/HRC/27/52/Add.2, 2014,; ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Gender, Indigenous Rights, and Energy Development in Northeast British Columbia, Canada’ (Amnesty International, 2016),; Insiya Mankani, ‘Canada Should Back Up Words With Action on Indigenous Rights,’ Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2019,

[35] Hudson, Peter James, 2017. Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

[36] Macdonald, David, 2012. ‘The Big Banks’ Big Secret: Estimating Government Support for Canadian Banks during the Financial Crisis.’ Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

[37] McLean, Heather, 2014. ‘Digging into the Creative City: A Feminist Critique: Digging Into the Creative City.’ Antipode 46 (3): 669–90.

[38] McLean, Heather, 2018. ‘Regulating and Resisting Queer Creativity: Community-Engaged Arts Practice in the Neoliberal City.’ Urban Studies 55 (16): 3563–78.

[39]Thobani, Sunera, 2018. ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism and Western Exceptionalism: The Cultural Politics of the West.’ Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences 11 (2): 161–74; Roderique, Hadiya, 2017. ‘Black on Bay Street: Hadiya Roderique Had It All. But Still Could Not Fit In.’ The Globe and Mail, November 4, 2017.

[40] Ho, Karen, 2009. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.

[41] See Bannerji, Himani, 2000. The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays of Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
Day, Richard, 2000. Multiculturalism and the History of Canadian Diversity. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

[42] Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake, 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Indigenous Americas. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[43] See Cattelino, Jessica R., 2018. ‘From Locke to Slots: Money and the Politics of Indigeneity.’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 60 (02): 274–307.

[44] Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks.

[45] See, for instance, Macdonald, Nancy, 2016. ‘Canada’s Prisons Are the ‘New Residential Schools.’’ Macleans. February 2, 2016.

[46] See Razack, Sherene, 2015. Dying from Improvement: Inquests and Inquiries into Indigenous Deaths in Custody. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

[47] Block, Sheila & Galabuzi Grace-Edward & Tranjan, Ricardo, 2019. Canada’s Colour Coded Income Inequality. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

[48] Joseph, Robert P. C., 21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality (Port Coquitlam, BC: Indigenous Relations Press, 2018).

[49] ‘Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future: Final Report’ (Ottawa: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015),

[50] Pasternak, Shiri, ‘How Capitalism Will Save Colonialism: The Privatization of Reserve Lands in Canada: How Capitalism Will Save Colonialism,’ Antipode 47, no. 1 (2015): 179–96; Pasternak, Shiri, ‘The Fiscal Body of Sovereignty: To ‘Make Live’ in Indian Country,’ Settler Colonial Studies 6, no. 4 (2016): 317–38.

[51] Manuel, Arthur & Derrickson, Ronald M., 2015. Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call. Toronto: Between the Lines.

[52] Altamirano-Jiménez, Isabel, Indigenous Encounters with Neoliberalism: Place, Women, and the Environment in Canada and Mexico, 2013; Sommerville, Melanie, ‘Naturalising Finance, Financialising Natives: Indigeneity, Race, and ‘Responsible’ Agricultural Investment in Canada,’ Antipode, Forthcoming 2018.

[53] Flanagan, Thomas & Le Dressay, André & Alcantara, Christopher, Beyond the Indian Act Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (Montréal; Ithaca: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010).

[54] Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition; Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus; Wolfe, ‘Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.’

[55] Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance, Indigenous Americas (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

[56] Ehrhardt, Kathleen L., ‘Copper Working Technologies, Contexts of Use, and Social Complexity in the Eastern Woodlands of Native North America,’ Journal of World Prehistory 22, no. 3 (September 30, 2009): 213.

[57] Murphy, Michelle, 2017. ‘Alterlife and Decolonial Chemical Relations,’ Cultural Anthropology 32, no. 4: 494–503.

[58] Chakravartty, Paula & Ferreira da Silva, Denise, ‘Accumulation, Dispossession, and Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism—An Introduction,’ American Quarterly 64, no. 3 (2012): 361–385; Wang, Jackie. 2018. Carceral Capitalism. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

[59] See also Goldstein, Alyosha, ‘Finance and Foreclosure in the Colonial Present,’ Radical History Review 118 (2014): 42–63; Wang, Carceral Capitalism.

[60] Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. 2019. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press; Wang, Jackie. 2018. Carceral Capitalism. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

[61] Haiven, Max, ‘The Uses of Financial Literacy: Financialization, the Radical Imagination, and the Unpayable Debts of Settler-Colonialism.’

[62] Paul, Daniel, We Were Not the Savages: Collision between European and Native American Civilization (Blackpoint NS: Fernwood, 2006); Arthur Manuel and Ronald M. Derrickson, Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2015).

[63] Deneault and Sacher, Imperial Canada Inc.; Stanley, Anna, ‘Aligning against Indigenous Jurisdiction: Worker Savings, Colonial Capital, and the Canada Infrastructure Bank,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 37, no. 6 (December 2019): 1138–56,

[64] Bhandar, Brenna, ‘Possession, Occupation and Registration: Recombinant Ownership in the Settler Colony,’ Settler Colonial Studies 6, no. 2 (April 2, 2016): 119–32,

[65] Galloway, Gloria, ‘First Nations Leaders Want to Rethink Residential Schools Agreement,’ The Globe and Mail, May 9, 2016,

[66] Bourne, Clea & Gilbert, Paul & Haiven, Max & Montgomerie, Johnna, 2018. ‘Colonial Debts, Imperial Insolvencies, Extractive Nostalgias.’ Discover Society. September 4, 2018.

[67] Hall, Catherine & McClelland, Keith & Draper Nick & Donington, Kate & Lang, Rachel, 2014. Legacies of British Slave-Ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Beckles, Hilary. 2013. Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide. Kingston, Jamaica: University Of West Indies Press; Coates, Ta-Nehesi. 2014. ‘The Case for Reparations.’ The Atlantic, June 2014.; Salzberger, Ronald P., and Turck, Mary C. (eds.), 2004. Reparations for Slavery: A Reader. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield; Aldrich, Robert. 2018. ‘Apologies, Restitutions, and Compensation: Making Reparations for Colonialism.’ In The Oxford Handbook of the Ends of Empire, edited by Martin Thomas and Andrew Thompson, 696–732. Oxford University Press.

[68] Fisher, Mark. 2014. Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures. Winchester, UK: Zero books.

[69] Stoler, Ann Laura. 2006. ‘Intimidations of Empire: Predicaments of the Tactile and Unseen.’ In Haunted by Empire, edited by Ann Laura Stoler, 1–22. Duke University Press.

[70] Baucom, Ian. 2005. Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and Philosophy of History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

[71] Kish, Zenia & Leroy, Justin, 2015. ‘Bonded Life: Technologies of Racial Finance from Slave Insurance to Philanthrocapital.’ Cultural Studies 29 (5–6): 630–51; Bernards, Nick. 2019. ‘The Poverty of Fintech? Psychometrics, Credit Infrastructures, and the Limits of Financialization.’ Review of International Political Economy 26 (5): 815–38; Mader, Philip. 2018. ‘Contesting Financial Inclusion.’ Development and Change 49 (2): 461–83.

[72] Gilman-Opalsky, Richard, 2016. Specters of Revolt: On the Intellect of Insurrection and Philosophy from Below. London: Repeater books.

[73] Gordon, Avery F., 2008. Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination. New edition. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

[74] Cariou, Warren, 2006. ‘Haunted Prairie: Aboriginal ‘Ghosts’ and the Spectres of Settlement.’ University of Toronto Quarterly 75 (2): 727–34.

[75] Tuck, Eve & Ree, C., ‘A Glossary of Haunting,’ in Handbook of Autoethnography, ed. Stacy Holman Jones, Tony E. Adams, and Carolyn Ellis, Research Methods / Cultural Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), 642–43.

[76] Haiven, ‘The Uses of Financial Literacy’

[77] Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks.

[78] Cossette, Marc-André, ‘Fix First Nations Child Welfare System Now, Says Cindy Blackstock,’ CBC, December 2, 2017,

[79] Pasternak, Shiri, Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake against the State (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

[80] Barker, Adam J., ‘”A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty”: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigenous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism,’ Globalizations 12, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 43–65; Barker, Joanne (ed.), Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017); Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake, 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.