Property and whiteness: the Oregon standoff and the contradictions of the U.S. Settler State

Joshua F.J. Inwood, Anne Bonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


On 2 January 2016, armed anti-government protestors took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) in rural Oregon. The takeover of the MNWR is part of a larger, much longer set of movements called the Sagebrush Rebellion that has come to define contemporary white contestations about the federal regulation of lands in the American West. Specifically, we argue that the armed takeover of MNWR is revelatory of the way white supremacy intersects with place in important and consequential ways. In addition, we examine the politics of place and property to interrogate the way settler imaginaries affords settlers a perceived right to property and the land. We contend that this perception, illustrated by the events at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, is enmeshed within particular conceptions of property, the frontier, and whiteness. The MNWR takeover illuminates how discourses of whiteness and property rights are essential to the ongoing production of white supremacy within the US settler state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-268
Number of pages16
JournalSpace and Polity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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