Appraising the evolution of settler colonial forms during the second half of the twentieth century can contribute to an appraisal of decolonisation processes. This is both because settler colonial forms have existed in a variety of sites of European colonial expansion (and have survived in a number of postcolonial polities), and because, contrary to other colonial forms, settler colonialism has been remarkably resistant to decolonisation. This article calls for integrating two non-communicating discursive fields: adding an appraisal of settler colonialism to discussions of decolonisation, and introducing decolonisation to analyses of settler colonial contexts. It briefly outlines a history of decolonizing settler colonial structures, and it reflects on the intellectual and historiographical shifts that have accompanied these processes. This paper also suggests that an appraisal of a narrative deficit - a specific difficulty associated with conceptualising settler decolonisation - can contribute to explaining widespread reluctance in enacting meaningful postcolonial passages.