Why indigenous land rights have not been superseded – a critical application of Waldron’s theory of supersession

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 25 (4):480-495 (2022)
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Jeremy Waldron introduced the notion of rights supersession into the philosophical discussion about restitutive justice in cases of historic injustices. He refers to land claims by indigenous peoples as a real-world example and as an application of his theory of rights supersession. He implies that the changes that have taken place in settler states since the first years of colonialism are the kind of changes that lead to a supersession of land rights. The article proposes to unbundle property rights into rights of benefit, control, use, and access and to distinguish between different forms of attachment. This strategy allows for a third option of restitution and supersession, namely partial restitution. Partial restitution grants current land holders those rights that they need to satisfy their attachments and basic distributive justice claims. At the same time, rights that are not needed for either purpose will revert back to indigenous peoples as the original owners. The article argues that the notion of partial restitution allows for far more extensive land rights than a less nuanced application of the supersession thesis.



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Kerstin Reibold
UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso

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Colonialism, injustices of the past, and the hole in Nine.Daniel Weltman - 2023 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 88 (2):288-300.

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