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Aboriginal Peoples and Federalism

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Influence of academic research and post-colonial ideology. Key events and ... self-government and new treaties will take a long time and continuing good will. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Aboriginal Peoples and Federalism


1
Aboriginal Peoples and Federalism
  • Douglas Brown
  • Pols 321
  • St Francis Xavier University
  • November 2009

2
Aboriginal Peoples Outline of Topics
  • Names and key concepts
  • Early treaties and history of rights
  • Suppression and assimilation
  • Resurgent aboriginal nationalism
  • Key developments since 1980s
  • The Challenge of Self-government

3
Whats in a name ?
  • Natives
  • Indians, Eskimos, and Métis
  • Aboriginal, aboriginees, Amerindian
  • First Nations
  • Their names
  • Inuit, Mikmaw, Cree, Mohawk, Nisgaa,
  • Siksika, Dogrib, Anishnabe, Dene, Gitskan and so
    on

4
Key terms and concepts
  • Indian Act / Indian bands/ reserves
  • Status/non-status
  • Aboriginal Peoples
  • Aboriginal rights
  • Aboriginal title
  • Self-government
  • Treaty federalism

5
History of Treaties
  • Early French and British treaties
  • Aboriginal nations have autonomy and independence
  • A confederal relationship with the Crown?
  • Title to land and resources held unless ceded
  • Royal Proclamation of 1763
  • A Nation-to-nation relationship under Crown
    sovereignty
  • Provides protection of aboriginal title to the
    land (and origins of fiduciary obligation)
  • Autonomous self-government is inherent and
    assumed

6
Treatiescontinued
  • Numbered treaties with federal government on
    behalf of Crown covering parts of Ontario, Man,
    Sask, Alberta, NWT and BC.
  • Areas of Canada without treaties or not covered
    by Royal Proclamation (prior to 1982)
  • Labrador, Yukon, large parts of NWT, most of
    British Columbia

7
History of Aboriginal Rights
  • Early recognition by US courts as Domestic
    dependent nations (1832 US Supreme Court)
  • Later US restrictions Congress severely limits
    aboriginal rights, including title.
  • Confederation of Canada, 1867, limits practical
    room for self-government and promotes
    non-aboriginal settlement, assigns responsibility
    to Federal Parliament.

8
History of Rightscontinued
  • Indian Acts suppress Aboriginal autonomy and
    culture
  • Reserve system isolates and marginalizes First
    Nations.

9
Rise of Aboriginal Nationalism
  • Rejection of Trudeau Governments 1969 White
    Paper
  • Rise of a national Indian Lobby
  • Growth and diversity of national aboriginal
    political organizations
  • Increasingly militant politics
  • Influence of academic research and post-colonial
    ideology

10
Key events and developments, 1982-92
  • Constitution Act 1982 section 35 entrenches
    general aboriginal and existing treaty rights and
    commits to further negotiation.
  • Aboriginal round of negotiations, 1983-87,
    fails to define key rights including
    self-government.
  • Aboriginal peoples left out of Meech Lake process
  • Aboriginal peoples representatives participate
    fully in Canada Round and in negotiation of the
    provisions of Charlottetown Accord.

11
Since 1990
  • Major court judgments extend and define
    aboriginal rights
  • Calder, Sparrow, Sioui, Marshall
  • Oka Crisis, summer 1990 armed standoff and
    greatly increased profile for aboriginal
    grievances
  • Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP)
    (1991-96) -- redefines the terms of debate
    towards a nation-to-nation relationship (but not
    fully acted upon)

12
Last decade
  • Nisgaa Final Agreement, 1998
  • Nunavut Territory, 1999
  • Acceleration of more autonomous First Nations
    governance (i.e. Indian bands)
  • Land claims and treaty processes continue
  • Martin governments 2005 Kelowna summit to
    improve health, education, economic and other
    conditions
  • Residential Schools apology and compensation
    package

13
Exercising Self-Government
  • Supreme Court recognize that s. 35, Constitution
    Act implies an inherent right -- but details
    still being worked out.
  • Indian Act constraints -- 640 band councils
    considered by some as too small to be effective
  • Practical concerns
  • Fiscal resources
  • Administrative capacity
  • Democratic accountability

14
Current Status of Aboriginal Governments in the
Intergovernmental System
  • Partial inclusion in executive federalism.
  • Occasional meetings with FPT ministers for native
    affairs.
  • Council of Federation (PT) has met with national
    aboriginal leadership
  • Martin had the Kelowna summit, not since
    repeated.
  • Provincial governments meet with province-wide
    aboriginal organizations

15
Perspectives on self-government 1. The
Neo-liberal view
  • Thomas Flanagan book
  • Aboriginals not that different from others
  • There can only be one nation (Canada)
  • Aboriginal self-government is wasteful and
    fractious
  • Do not renew or upgrade treaties
  • Concentrate on land, economic development and
    property rights instead

16
Perspectives on self-government 2. 1996 Royal
Commission
  • Restore the nation-to-nation relationship
  • Consolidate Indian bands into original national
    groups, i.e. 50-60 First Nations
  • Settle outstanding land claims, renew and revive
    treaties
  • Provide First Nations with autonomous governing
    authority (third order of government)

17
Perspectives on self-government 3. Cairns
Citizens Plus
  • Respects notion of decolonization
  • Recognizes power of aboriginal nationalism
  • Seeks practical solutions to making
    self-government better
  • Concerned that aboriginal nationalism and goals
    often seek separateness, which cuts them off from
    solidarity with Canadians

18
Concluding Points
  • Aboriginal rights are here to stay.
  • Our system probably has enough flexibility to
    accommodate their governments.
  • But, negotiations on self-government and new
    treaties will take a long time and continuing
    good will.
  • Canada and Canadians will be judged on how well
    we do.
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