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Aboriginal Peoples: Rethinking the Relationship


Permitted British rule through occupation, settlements, and the threat of force ... Collective and inherent rights (i.e., 'inherent' due to ancestral occupation) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Aboriginal Peoples: Rethinking the Relationship

Aboriginal PeoplesRethinking the Relationship
  • Presented By
  • Peter, Sarosh, Matt

  • Main Argument
  • Although the conditions of Aboriginal peoples are
    improving and their history and voices are being
    given greater attention by the government and
    media, much still needs to be done to right
    historical wrongs.

Aboriginal Status Lifestyle
Aboriginal Status
  • There are 4 distinct government-defined
    Aboriginal statuses in Canada
  • Status Indian
  • Non-Status Indian
  • Metis
  • Inuit

Aboriginal Lifestyle
  • Aboriginals in Canada, whether they live on or
    off reserves, tend to face many problems.
  • Living on the reserve
  • Living off the reserve

Treaties, Rulings, Agreements
Treaty for Accommodation
  • There was only one treaty made in the spirit of
  • The Royal Proclamation of 1763
  • It sought to establish the principle of Crown
    sovereignty over unexplored land.
  • It acknowledged that Aboriginal interest in land
    was pre-existing sovereign right rather than a
    right granted by the Crown.
  • Based on principles of partnership, mutual
    recognition and non-interference.

Policies for Assimilation
  • There were a number of policies made under the
    principle of assimilation
  • British North America Act, 1867
  • Permitted British rule through occupation,
    settlements, and the threat of force and made
    Natives a state responsibility.
  • Gradual Enfranchisement Act, 1869
  • It sought to eliminate Indian status though
    enfranchisement and exposure to the White race
    in the ordinary avocations of life.
  • Indian Act, 1876
  • Goal was to protect and civilize the Aboriginal
    population, but, rather than empowering them, it
    controlled them.

Initiatives for Integration
  • There was one policy made on the principle of
  • The White Paper, 1969
  • Proposed by then Indian Affairs Minister Jean
    Chretien, this highly criticized proposal set to
    eliminate the status of Aboriginal peoples as a
    legal entity.
  • Transfer federal responsibility of Natives to the
    provincial governments.
  • Abolition of Aboriginal treaty privileges and
    special status to normalize Aboriginal entry
    into Canadian society.
  • Never put into practice because it was met with a
    great deal of disdain from the Native community.

Policies for Devolution
  • There were 3 new policies introduced with the
    principle of devolution after The White Paper
  • The Calder Decision, 1973
  • It made moves to transform federal policy agenda
    to enhance nation-to-nation relationship and
    created initiatives to expand Aboriginal
    jurisdiction over local matters.
  • The Constitution Act, 1982
  • Canada was the first country to entrench
    Aboriginal and treaty rights into the
  • First Nations Land Management Act, 1999
  • Allows for band councils to establish their own
    land-use policies, awards limited property right
    to band members, and settles matrimonial disputes
    over land ownership in divorce cases.
  • Sechelt Ruling, 1986
  • First Aboriginal community to gain

Initiatives for Autonomy
  • There have been 5 significant policy initiatives
    based on the principle of conditional autonomy
    since the 1990s
  • Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, 1996
  • Stated that Native peoples sovereignty should be
  • Delgamuukw Ruling, 1997
  • B.C. Court ruled that Aboriginals have a
    constitutional and exclusive right of use and
    ownership to land they can prove was occupied by
    them prior to European arrival.
  • Marshall Ruling, 1999
  • Ruling that acknowledged the fact that
    Aboriginals face a great deal of discrimination
    throughout Canadas legal system.
  • Nisagaa Final Agreement, 2000
  • The first treaty settlement in B.C. since 1859
    and is the first of 50 outstanding land claims
    that encompass the entire province.

Restructuring the Relationship
Living Together Separately
  • Not fixing the aboriginal problem but fixing the
  • Aboriginal peoples define themselves as different
    and distinct.
  • Categorically reject the view of themselves as
    Canadian citizens who live on reserves.

Living Together But Separately
  • Aboriginality is like ethnicity.
  • It (aboriginality) refers to the process of
    shared awareness of ancestral differences as a
    basis for entitle or engagement.

Three Recurrent Themes for Aboriginal Renewal
  • Taking aboriginal rights seriously.
  • Promoting self-determination through self
  • Acknowledging aboriginal title and treaty rights.

Inherent Rights
  • Aboriginal peoples claim to be a de facto
    sovereign political community (peoples) whose
    collective right to self-government
    (nationhood) are guaranteed by virtue of
    aboriginality (ancestral occupation) rather than
    because of need, disadvantage, or occupation.

Sui Generis Rights
  • Aboriginal rights are different ? SUI GENERIS
  • Rights that are based in sources of law that
    reflect the unique status of original occupancy.
  • Collective and inherent rights (i.e., inherent
    due to ancestral occupation).
  • Inherent in that they are not delegated by
    government decree.
  • Collective in that aboriginal communities can
    exercise jurisdiction over the individual rights
    of members of these communities.

Conditional Autonomy
  • Model that is getting endorsed by both government
    and aboriginal peoples.
  • Aboriginal rights, including the inherent right
    to self governance is within the constitutional
    framework of Canadian society.
  • A third tier of government but only if consistent
    with Canadian foundation principles.
  • Allows negotiation on a government-to-government


Conditional Autonomy
  • Rejects legitimacy of existing political
    relations for attainment of aboriginal goals.
  • Aboriginals are seeking the same powers regarding
    internal affairs as those similar to the actions
    of the Quebecois and the sovereignty-association.
  • Self Determination through self-governance.

Self-Determination Through Self-Governance
  • Key Elements
  • Control over the process and power of local
  • The attainment of cultural sovereignty
  • Realignment of political relations around formal
    self governing arrangements in key areas related
    to power, privilege and resources.

Self-Governance(Core Jurisdictions)
  • Several core jurisdictions which may vary in
    priority amongst the bands. Specifically
  • The delivery of social services (policing,
    health, education)
  • Resources and use of lands for economic
  • The means to promote and protect distinct
    cultural values and language systems
  • Band membership and entitlements
  • Federal expenditures according to aboriginal
    priorities rather than those of the government.

Four Self-GovernmentPossibilities
  • (1) Statehood
  • Absolute sovereignty
  • Internal external justice
  • complete independence with no external
  • (2) Nationhood
  • De facto sovereignty - Province like status.
  • Operates within framework of society but with
    authority over internal matters. Interlinked with
    jurisdictions having shared sovereignty.


Four Self-GovernmentPossibilities
  • (3) Municipality
  • Nested sovereignty
  • Community based autonomy
  • Control over internal affairs (internal
    jurisdiction) but limited by way of interaction
    with other parallel bodies and higher political
  • (4) Institutional
  • Nominal sovereignty
  • Decision-making power through institutional

Aboriginal Self-Governance
  • Aboriginal demands for self-government rarely
    calls for political independence or territorial
  • Seeking a relationship of relative and relational
    autonomy within a partnership framework.
  • It is not secession

Richard Cardinal Cry From the Diary of a Metis
  • Cardinal killed himself at the age of 17 after
    spending 13 years being shifted though a series
    of 28 different foster homes and shelters, often
    separated from his brothers and sisters.
  • His death and the diary he left behind captured
    media attention and prompted reform of Albertas
    child welfare system, allowing Native communities
    to gain control over their care of their children.

  • Aboriginal peoples are a vital and culturally
    distinct group in Canadian society which are,
    sadly, still fighting for the justice that they
    rightly deserve but are being denied by not only
    this nations government, but its unsupportive
    yet sympathizing citizens as well.
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