Black Bodies in the Settler’s Chains: Exploring the operations of settler colonialism through the use of restraints on Australian Aboriginal people.
Since early British colonisation, the use of restraints has continued to feature in the ways in which Aboriginal people are treated and dealt with in settings of control, discipline and punishment. The history on the use of restraints is often limited to a specific place, time or form of restraint, which obscures the greater operations of colonialism. Existing literature has conducted little political analysis on the use of restraints on Aboriginal people to understand the underlying operations of colonialism. This research will begin to explore the operations of colonialism through the use of restraints on Aboriginal people at the level of the body and the population. This project will analyse three historical junctures: the 1905 Royal Commission into the Condition of the Natives, the Fantome Island Lock Hospital, and the current (2017) Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. These three historical junctures have been selected as they are representative of greater contemporary and historical phenomena. By addressing the use of restraints on Aboriginal people as part of a continual process this research will confront the underlying pathological processes that sustain and perpetuate operations of settler colonialism through the use of restraints on Aboriginal people both at the level of the body and populations.