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History Native American

Making and Breaking Settler Space

Five Centuries of Colonization in North America

by (author) Adam J. Barker

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Native American, Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, North America
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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Five hundred years. A vast geography. And an unfinished project to remake the world to match the desires of settler colonizers. How have settlers used violence and narrative to transform Turtle Island into “North America”? What does that say about our social systems, and what happens next?


Drawing on multiple disciplines, archival sources, pop culture, and personal experience, Making and Breaking Settler Space creates a model that shows how settler spaces have evolved. From the colonization of Turtle Island in the 1500s to problematic activist practices by would-be settler allies today, Adam Barker traces the trajectory of settler colonialism, drawing out details of its operation and unflinchingly identifying its weaknesses.


Making and Breaking Settler Space proposes an innovative, unified spatial theory of settler colonization in Canada and the United States. In doing so, it offers a framework within which settlers can pursue decolonial actions in solidarity with Indigenous communities.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Adam J. Barker is a settler Canadian from the territories of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe people and an adjunct research professor with the Indigenous and Canadian Studies Program at Carleton University. He is the editor of Settler Colonial Studies and has published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Barker is co-author, with Emma Battell Lowman, of Settler: Colonialism and Identity in 21st Century Canada.

Editorial Reviews

Barker’s work presents a strong synthesis of recent work in settler studies. It testifies to his comprehensive understanding, as a self-acknowledged settler, of the dynamics that have presided over the construction of ongoing and structural North American inequities between settler and indigenous peoples.


"Barker takes readers on a critical thought journey through relationships between past, present, and future complexities of settler colonialism, space, place, and identity."

University of Toronto Quarterly.

Making and Breaking Settler Space offers important points of conversation and contestation as we continue to figure out what it means to live together in this place, and how we should go about doing something about it.

BC Studies