This article argues that within the context of settler colonialism, the goal of transitional justice must be decolonisation. Settler colonialism operates according to a logic of elimination that aims to affect the disappearance of Indigenous populations in order to build new societies on expropriated land. This eliminatory logic renders the death of Indigenous peoples “ungrievable”. Therefore, this article proposes a decolonising transitional justice premised on a politics of grief that (1) re-conceptualises Indigenous death as grievable, posing a challenge to the logic of elimination and advancing a “decolonisation of the mind”, and (2) resists a purely affective concept of grief in order to mobilise grief as a political resource to demand transformative structural justice. This article consider deaths at Canada’s Indian Residential Schools as a case study of ungrievability under settler colonialism and the Project of Heart as an illustration of a decolonising form of informal transitional justice.

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Keywords Decolonisation, Indian residential schools, Politics of grief, Settler colonialism, Transitional justice
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Journal Human Rights Review
Park, A. (2015). Settler Colonialism and the Politics of Grief: Theorising a Decolonising Transitional Justice for Indian Residential Schools. Human Rights Review, 16(3), 273–293. doi:10.1007/s12142-015-0372-4