At the heart of the ongoing ontological and symbolic requirement of continuous Native death and dispossession, is a fundamental question of the construction of The Indian, Indians, and of Indian sovereignty and how it allows the Native to be both cast out, and to a priori always-already cast out, that is to say: always-already abjected. For the purposes of my argument here I take sites of multiplicity of The Indian, of Indians-as-Persons, and of Indian Sovereignty as indicative of, as well as manifestations of, the same, primordial ontological condition within, against and before the social ontology of settler colonialism. To use the wording of Billy-Ray Belcourt, perhaps then we can think here of Indianness as a kind of ante-ontology, in that “it is prior to and therefor disruptive of ontology” (2016: 24), or as Jodi Byrd’s Indian Errant which foregrounds the formation of all else (2011).
To begin to articulate this something-of-an-answer, I want to briefly zoom out from the level of the auto-ethnographic and auto/biographic and return to the level of the structural and the national. By doing this I hope to link my thoughts on these two whys—why do we tell our damage, especially to those who damaged us, and why are these narratives of damage so readily consumed—to thoughts that have already been articulated at the macro-level concerning the necessity of Indigenous dispossession and death (not only in the physical sense, but also in the sense of culture, politics, sovereignty and territoriality) and the stability and futurity of the settler state in the post-frontier period.
The late Mark Fisher in his theorization of the current postmodern capitalist condition, drawing on the thought Franco “Bifo” Berardi (2011), mused that we have born witness to the cancellation of the future (2014). Sure technological innovation and the colonization of everyday life by newer and newer technologies has continued—in fact it has been accelerating at an ever greater rate—but as a society and culture, at least for those of us resident within the confines of the First World it would seem, that this innovation is only deployed in an endless loop of pastiched re-iterations of previous cultural forms with only minimal, if any, change or growth between cycles. Borrowing from and extending Fredric Jameson’s work on the postmodern condition (1992), this endless loop of pastiched re-iterations of the past is for Fisher one of the key features of late-capitalism come capitalist realism (2009).