Colonial Kettle Logic: The Antithetical Rhetoric of Settler Colonialism

Novel Alliances

Colonial Kettle Logic (CKL) is an interwoven set of mutually exclusive arguments employed in settler colonial discourse in order to disavow violent histories of dispossession. The enumeration of these arguments illustrates precisely what they are attempting to deny–that the settler state is built on the strategic disavowal of Indigenous histories, rights and peoples. In Canada, where popular discourse re-imagines that “We have a government who is unlike any government to have walked the face of the earth in its commitment to doing what’s right” itemizing the arguments that constitute CKL is a significant political gesture and a step towards decolonization.

“Kettle Logic” refers to an old joke that Sigmund Freud used to illustrate the inconsistency of dreams and the ways in which denial can be interpreted positively by a careful analyst. The joke goes like this: a man borrows a kettle from his neighbour, breaks it, and then tries to return it…

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