This chapter seeks to denaturalize and contest the settler-colonial frames of war in Canada, in particular as they reproduce the biopolitical rationalities that govern Indigenous life. To do so, I offer a reading of Lee Maracle’s novels Ravensong and Celia’s Song that traces how these frames operate as a mode of everyday sensemaking to naturalize mundane violence against Indigenous peoples and lands, which in turn naturalizes their displacement and expropriation. As Maracle’s novels chart the catastrophic devastation brought by settlement in ancestral Sto:lo territories in British Columbia, she suggests that while moments of extreme crisis offer an opportunity to make apparent these frames of war, frequently they remain invisible as the exceptionality of the moment forecloses examination of the structural conditions that made the crises possible. Specifically, Maracle focuses on the spread of illnesses not seen or experienced by Sto:lo communities before the processes of settler-colonialism. Settler-colonialism, as defined by Glen Coulthard, is a process
characterized by a particular form of domination; that is, it is a relationship where power – in this case, interrelated discursive and nondiscursive facets of economic, gendered, racial, and state power – has been structured into a relatively secure or sedimented set of hierarchical social relations that continue to facilitate the dispossession of Indigenous peoples of their lands and self determining authority.(2014: 6–7; italics in original) Moreover, Bonita Lawrence outlines how one of the many technologies of settler-colonialism operationalized to expand and secure settlement in Canada was “the deliberate introduction of devastating diseases” (2003: 7). When the communities in Maracle’s texts are exposed to a deadly strain of influenza, they must rely on traditional medicines to combat the disease, as the citizens of the nearest – predominantly white – settlement refuse to send aid. 1 I argue that Maracle contests the settler frame that would recognize the refusal of care during the epidemic as an exceptional moment of settler cruelty, instead illuminating the mundane settler frames that not only brought the epidemic to the community in the first place, but which also rationalize the hierarchy of care 173that is provided. I further suggest that in her depictions of the Sto:lo communities’ responses to this devastation, Maracle makes evident that other frames are possible, without holding them out as a promise of settler redemption.