The politics of (dis)trust in Indigenous help-seeking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Policy interventions continue to fall short in addressing significant health, economic and educational disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. In understanding this, our chapter builds on insights from settler-colonial studies to approach the political dynamics of ‘trust’ in Indigenous help-seeking. Drawing on qualitative data on the practices of Indigenous social media users, we offer three analyses of trust in Indigenous help-seeking. First, we unpack the politics of trust in formal sources of help, discussing how care institutions are a significant point of encounter between Indigenous peoples and the settler state, and thus often perpetuate the settler logic of Indigenous elimination. Second, we turn to the narratives of Indigenous social media users, who are actively producing new spaces, relations and arrangements of care online. We argue that, in the context of settler colonialism, seeking help online can be understood as a way of contesting the authority of settler institutions. Finally, we conceptualise social media as a significant site of encounter between Indigenous and settler peoples; and, importantly, as a site in which settler sovereignty can be extended. Trust, we argue, offers a powerful lens through which to explore Indigenous-settler relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuestioning Indigenous-settler relations
Subtitle of host publicationinterdisciplinary perspectives
EditorsSarah Maddison, Sana Nakata
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789811392054
ISBN (Print)9789811392047
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameIndigenous-Settler Relations in Australia and the World
ISSN (Print)2524-5767
ISSN (Electronic)2524-5775


  • trust
  • Indigenous
  • settler colonialism
  • social media
  • help-seeking
  • implicit activism


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