Indigeneity's challenges to the white settler-state: Creating a thirdspace for dynamic citizenship

Jay T. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Multiculturalism has been offered as an answer to the civil rights claims of a wide variety of ethnic and national minorities within liberal democratic settler-states. This article adds to the critiques of the appropriateness of multiculturalism in answering the self-determination claims of indigenous populations by investigating biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Indigenous groups continue to demand greater recognition not only of sui generis claims to land and resources but also to the acceptance of indigenous philosophies and perspectives in the management of land and resources. As indigenous populations have been forced toward the edge of the state, they have been forced to reassert their cultural values in order to fundamentally reinvent the relationship between colonizer and colonized. This "reinvention" of society, coming from the edges, propelled by indigeneity, is beginning to challenge the construction of the white settler-state. These challenges occur in places, not within arbitrary, theoretical space. They also vary in scale, from the single individual acting on behalf of her community to vast land claims by indigenous peoples. This article discusses how the exercise of indigenous self-determination, observed in specific places, is beginning to transform Aotearoa/New Zealand society into a bicultural and binational partnership, altering the meaning of citizenship for both Māori and whites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-52
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Biculturalism
  • Indigenous self-determination
  • Māori
  • Multiculturalism
  • Thirdspace


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