Colonial ideologies of waste: Implications for land and life

Article by Wilkes, James and Myra, Hird

Worldwide, colonialism continues to structure the relationship between the resource industry, Indigenous peoples, and the environment, as dwindling primary resources are pushing extraction efforts further and deeper into Indigenous territories. While governments and industry emphasize the potential to create new jobs for Indigenous peoples, alongside more people and equipment moving into Indigenous territories and significantly more drilling and extraction, one consequence is certain: the creation of more, and increasingly complex forms of, waste. This paper analyses the ideologies that undergird ongoing colonial approaches to land and life. On a global scale, waste, we argue—as material object, as concept, as symbol, and as leitmotif—is a symptom of ongoing forms of colonialism.

Title of Journal / Edit Volume, incl. names of editors:

Wilkes, James

Research Area:
Deep Earth, Deep Time, Toxic Embodiment, General Environmental Humanities


Academic, Citizen Humanities

United States

Affiliated but not funded by Seed Box
Research assistant funding at Queen’s University