Winner of the John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award, Canada at a Crossroads draws on group position theory, settler colonial studies, critical race theory, and Indigenous theorizing. Canada at a Crossroads emphasizes the social psychological barriers to transforming white settler ideologies and practices and working towards decolonization. After tracing settlers’ sense of group superiority and entitlement to historical and ongoing colonial processes, Denis illustrates how contemporary Indigenous and settler residents think about and relate to one another. He highlights how, despite often having close cross-group relationships, residents maintain conflicting perspectives on land, culture, history, and treaties, and Indigenous residents frequently experience interpersonal and systemic racism. Denis then critically assesses the promise and pitfalls of commonly proposed solutions, including intergroup contact, education, apologies, and collective action, and concludes that genuine reconciliation will require radically restructuring Canadian society and perpetually fulfilling treaty responsibilities.
About the author
Jeffrey S. Denis is an associate professor of Sociology at McMaster University and a settler Canadian of mixed European ancestry living on the lands of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations in Dish with One Spoon territory.
- Winner, John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award Canadian Sociological Association
"By examining Indigenous-settler relations on a local level Canada at a Crossroads offers a critique that is useful in imagining broader frameworks. It proves that contact on a local level is not enough to overcome the rigidity of group positions and the sense of superiority that underpins settler ideologies. To really overcome boundaries and build bridges, settlers need to address laissez-faire racism by working to understand the history of settler colonialism, Indigenous treaty rights and land claims of the region, and to address white supremacy and privilege."