It is an increasingly common trope in anti-gentrification activism to claim that gentrification of Black neighborhoods is a form of settler colonialism. Although Native critics have pushed back against these metaphors as abstractions of, and false equivalencies to, the concrete conditions of settler colonialism, gentrifying discourse frequently draws on the language and logic of settler colonialism in narratives about the city of Detroit. In this article, I ask what it means that terms and logic that are being applied to a predominantly Black city were, and are, also used to rationalize and structure theft of land from Native Americans. Proposing that shifting white interests in Black land have led to “borrowing” of longstanding logics used to dispossess Native peoples, I argue that the reiteration of settler-colonial logics in Detroit to explain and justify gentrification manifestly both validates land grabs in the city and further erases the claims of both Black and Indigenous peoples to Detroit.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.