Conference on "Indigenous Struggles and the Ideology of Development"

October 02, 2020

Keynote Address by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

October 2–24, Via Zoom Webinar (Registration Required)

Organized by Chinmoy Banerjee for South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD); hosted/co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities; co-sponsored by Hari Sharma Foundation, David Lam Centre for International Communication, School for International Studies, and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Simon Fraser University; and supported by Vancouver Democracy Alliance.

The conference is dedicated to the memory of late Dr. Hari Sharma who taught at Simon Fraser University and supported Indigenous struggles.

“How to expand whatever is embryonically present in the present not totally hijacked by the past?”
–Boaventura de Sousa Santos, “The End of the Cognitive Empire”

People gather in Edmonton during a rally in response to Gerald Stanley’s acquittal in the shooting death of Colten Boushie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The ideology of development is hegemonic. It is coeval with and forms the material interface of the ideologies of progress and modernity, which are all grounded in the dynamic of the accumulation of capital. The civilizing mission of settler colonialism and imperialism is the earliest form of these ideologies ("primitive accumulation") and persists today in overt and covert forms in the developmental ideology that is used by the modern and modernizing states for the displacement and destruction of Indigenous peoples for the extraction of resources. Development is the hegemonic modern face of settler colonialism and the internal colonialism of the formerly colonized states.

The struggles of Indigenous people against the assault of extractivism, under the banner of development, is the most important struggle in the world today, not only for the survival of what remains of them but for humanity as a whole facing the existential crisis of climate change and the devastation of life on this planet by the inexorable logic of capital.

The goal of the conference is to bring together knowledge on the issues addressed by the speakers, create connection between localized struggles to establish their global character, share the knowledge of experts with activists and the community, and subject the hegemonic ideology to critical scrutiny.


Friday, October 2 | 7:00pm PST | Register Now

Keynote address: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (“Indigenous Resilience and Persistence in Advancing Title and Rights”)
Moderator: Samir Gandesha

Saturday, October 3 | 7:00–8:30pm PST | Register Now

Panel on Turtle Island/Canada: annie ross ("seven sorrows, sacred work"), Eldon Yellowhorn ("Colonizing Canada and the Discourse of Development"), and Rueben George
Moderator: Samir Gandesha

Saturday, October 10 | 7:00–8:30pm PST | Register Now

Presentation on Latin America: Lynn Stephen ("Decolonizing Development: Insights from Indigenous and Other Women"), with response by Gerardo Otero
Moderator: Ian Angus 

Saturday, October 17 | 9:00–10:30am PST | Register Now

Panel on South and Eastern Asia: Michael Hathaway (China), Nandini Sundar (India), and Sara Shneiderman (Nepal)
Moderator: John Harriss

Saturday, October 24 | 7:00–9:00pm PST | Register Now

Presentation on Voicing Activism: Raul Gatica
Moderator: Stephen Collis

Note: proceedings will be video-recorded and published.