‘Invasion is a structure, not an event.’ Through his oft-quoted refrain, Patrick Wolfe aimed to emphasise the persistence of the structures and effects of settler colonialism from the past into the present. He sought to reorient our (settlers’) understandings of settler colonialism away from a retrospective view of invasion as an event that had occurred in the past and, one way or another, been resolved (even if its legacies might still warrant some form of redress) towards an understanding of the ‘continuities and discontinuities’ between the initial, violent stages of settler-colonial invasion and the often less literally, but equally symbolically, violent stages that follow. In Wolfe’s view, the persistent structures of settler-colonial invasion are governed by a ‘logic of elimination’, which seeks to displace and replace Indigenous peoples from and on their land.
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