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"Decolonization is Not the Endgame, It is the Next Now"

At the moment my favourite book is “Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View” (2019) by Smith, Tuck & Yang. I have read as much as I can by each of these authors but I am especially drawn to Tuck. I think it is the “call it like it is” attitude that comes through the writing at times that I really appreciate.

One of my favourite pieces in this book is by Eve Tuck titled “Losing Patience for the Task of Convincing Settlers to Pay Attention to Indigenous Ideas”. Tuck reminds us that #decolonizationisnotametaphor that can be delinked from “the #rematriation of Indigenous land and life” (p.13). (NOTE: rematriation!) She goes on to address the way Indigenous scholarship is taken up in the settler academy through the statement: “I feel that I have spent much of my time in education encouraging people to take just a short journey on a subway, or at least check out a map…I find myself less willing to do this now. I am weary after so many conference presentations in which Indigenous scholars present work and then someone in the audience asks them a question and expects them to do more work" (p.15). What I love about this message is that it is a reminder of how extractive settler culture is and how we have so many Indigenous communities, activist, scholars, leaders, students trying to engage with us if we stopped and took the time to listen.

Tuck then goes on to say that “I spent almost all of my career, up until recently, believing that if white settlers would just read Indigenous authors, this would move projects of #Indigenoussovereignty and land rematriation in #meaningfulways. I underestimated how people would read Indigenous work extractively”. This again is a much due call out for settlers to recognize that the movement to decolonise and reconcile demands an #ethicalcorelationship, which is not based in extraction. Finally, Tuck remarks that what she is “coming to now fully understand is that the question of “What will decolonization look like?,” when posed by settlers, are a distraction to Indigenous theorization of decolonisation. They drain the energy and imagination of Indigenous scholarship—they pester, they think they are unique, and they are boring. I want time and space to sketch the next and the now to get there. #Decolonizationisnottheendgame, not the final outcome of a long process, but the #nextnow, the now that is chasing our heels (p.16)”.

I offer this piece as an opportunit for each of you to read this last passage and ask yourself if you understand what the next now is and how as a settler we can move from distraction to true allyship. It is a question I ponder in learning circles and within my own research interviews often.


Smith, L., Tuck, E., Yang, W. (2019). Introduction. In Smith, L., Tuck, E., & Yang, W.

(Eds.). Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View (1-

23). NY, New York: Routledge

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