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Level 1 Aboriginal Self-Government

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Jason Isaacs

on 27 September 2018

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Transcript of Level 1 Aboriginal Self-Government

Aboriginal Self-Government:
The Politics of Autonomy
Who is Aboriginal?
Status Indians:
Divided into Treaty and non-treaty
Registered in Ottawa
Entitled to residence on reserve lands and services from the federal government
Under the jursidiction of the Indian Act
Non-status Indian:
Ancestors did not register under Indian Act
Lost status: enfranchisement, marriage to non-Indian, drink alcohol off reserves
Not legally entitled to live on reserves
Mixed European-aboriginal unions
Originally associated with Red River settlements in Manitoba
special status and relationship with federal government despite not having signed treaties
1951 - 1985 Proematic reforms by Gov'
founded 1968 as National Indian Brotherhood
advocate and public voice for First Nations in Canada
First major campaign was opposition to the "White Paper"
Collective Identity
People with a common vital interest identify as a group to pursue their aims.
Key Aboriginal Issues:
Trace roots of to marginalization on reserves without social or economic infrastructure
tight restrictions under Canadian government increased levels of poverty
over 50% of Canada's aboriginal people live in poverty (more than 3x greater than the national average)
Legacy of pandemics at "first contact"
History of discrimination: denial of service; banning of traditional medicine
Healthcare out of reach: Federal/Provincial jurisdiction disputes, cultural barriers, geographic isolation
Legacy of residential schooling
Eurocentric curriculum
lack of infrastructure and staffing on reserves
history of discrimination and disadvantage reflected in employment rates
Twice as likely to be unemployed
Average incomes well below naitonal averages
Arguments for self-government:
Constitutional Right under section 35.
Never relinquished right following European contact
Treaties are signed on a Nation to Nation basis
Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognizes indigenous nations
Provide more responsive governmenance
Support cultural preservation
"The Government of Canada recognizes the inherent right of self-government as an existing Aboriginal right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. It recognizes, as well, that the inherent right may find expression in treaties, and in the context of the Crown's relationship with treaty First Nations. Recognition of the inherent right is based on the view that the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have the right to govern themselves in relation to matters that are internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages and institutions, and with respect to their special relationship to their land and their resources." - DIAND 2009
Arguments Against self-government:
Section 35 does not sepecifically mention aborigninal self-government (and never been to Supreme Court)
Notion of "national sovereignty is European nd inconsistant with aboriginal systems of governance (could be addressed by consensus government)
Which aboriginal groups (if any) are entitled?
Requires settlement of claims to traditional territory (Land Claims)
deal with claims that the government did not fulfill its obligations related to the treaty or other legal agreement with a First Nation. These claims seek money, correction of the problem by the federal government, or other benefits.
Specific Claims
Comprehensive Claims
are claims regarding the traditional use and occupancy of land by Aboriginal peoples. These claims frequently involve a large area and a group of bands or Aboriginal communities. Settlement of comprehensive claims involves broader types of compensation than that for specific claims. Ownership of land, hunting and fishing rights, or financial compensation may be sought.
Tsuu T'ina
and Calgary Ring Road

Inherent: existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute
Histroically a major catalyst for Social change
Kanesatake (Oka)
land dispute between a group of Mohawk people and the town of Oka, Quebec, July 11, 1990 - September 26, 1990.
The town of Oka was developing plans to expand a golf course and residential development onto land which had traditionally been used by the Mohawk (including as a burial ground).
The Mohawk land claim had been rejected in 1986
Is it possible to reconcile the interests of all stakeholders?
Data source: Examining Aboriginal Corrections in Canada, a paper written by Carol LaPrairie, Ph.D. for the Ministry of the Solicitor General in 1996. (Population Source 1991 Census; Sentenced Admission Data Taken From 1991 Provincial Data Sets, except for Saskatchewan 1993 data was used)

This data shows the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal admissions to prisons in the Prairie provinces. In Manitoba, a native is ten times more likely to end up in jail, in Saskatchewan, twenty-five times more likely, and in Alberta, seven times more likely.


The rates of native criminal behaviour are disproportionately higher than for non-natives. A common assumption in the social sciences is that rates of criminal behaviour are closely associated with rates of poverty. Income statistics that compare rates of poverty for natives and non-natives confirm the validity of this relationship. The best method, therefore, for reducing this disproportion is a policy that identifies and attacks high poverty rates in the aboriginal population. For more information on the causes of native poverty, see the Frontier Centre's policy study, The Search for Aboriginal Property Rights - - /publications/policy_series/spr/native_policy/aboriginal_rights.html
a people that share:
-common language
-common culture
-collective identity

1876 - 1951 entrenched paternalism
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