Aboriginal Rights and Self-Government

Aboriginal Rights and Self-Government: The Canadian and Mexican Experience in North American Perspective

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 350
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  • Book Info
    Aboriginal Rights and Self-Government
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays is a timely exploration of the progress of Aboriginal rights movements in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Contributors compare the situations in Canada and Mexico, in both of which demands by Aboriginal people for political autonomy and sovereignty are increasing, and explore why there is little corresponding activity in the United States. The essays address problems of constructing new political arrangements, practical questions about the viability of multiple governments within one political system, and epistemological questions about recognizing and understanding the "other."

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6799-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. 1 One Continent, Contrasting Styles: The Canadian Experience in North American Perspective
    (pp. 3-36)

    Why compare Aboriginal political demands in Canada with Aboriginal political demands in Mexico?¹ Aboriginal peoples in both countries have pressed for political autonomy and sovereignty. Additionally, the environments in both countries have encouraged the florescence of these demands, albeit to substantially different degrees. Canada’s unsettled politics, reflected in prolonged constitutional rounds, and an increasingly fluid and unstable political situation in Mexico have promoted the expansion of political demands in both countries. Most importantly, perhaps, transitional environments, almost by definition, create a context where profound discussions about the legitimacy and efficacy of different structural arrangements become part of political discourse. In...

    • 2 A Just Relationship between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Peoples of Canada
      (pp. 39-71)

      The Colorado conference was a unique opportunity for scholars from Mexico, the United States, and Canada to meet and discuss the struggles of Aboriginal or indigenous peoples of North America for selfgovernment. Two major themes emerged in the discussions. First, Aboriginal peoples in Canada and Mexico are engaged in three similar types of struggle: a struggle to free themselves from internal colonisation by the Canadian and Mexican governments,¹ to govern themselves democratically by their own laws and ways on their territories, and to establish a just relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples of Canada and Mexico. Moreover, they have a...

    • 3 Indigenous Movements and Politics in Mexico and Latin America
      (pp. 72-98)

      The emergence in recent years of indigenous peoples as new social and political actors in Latin America can be seen as an instance of the transformation of the state and the transition to new and more democratic forms of existence. During the colonial period indigenous peoples had a fixed status in society, but since the emergence of independent republics in the region almost two hundred years ago, indigenous peoples have been involved in an uneasy and ambiguous relationship with the state and its institutions. As Latin American countries approach the new millennium, they are now faced with the task of...

    • 4 Rights and Self-Government for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples
      (pp. 101-134)
      C.E.S. FRANKS

      Of all the difficult questions that modern governments and political philosophers have to deal with, none have more complexities and competing viewpoints and arguments than issues of rights.¹ And of rights issues, few are more difficult to disentangle than those dealing with the rights of Aboriginal peoples, whether their rights within their own community or the rights of their community against the dominant external society and government. Issues of Aboriginal rights and selfgovernment include problems of individual versus group rights, of the meaning and utility of rights in different cultural contexts, and of conflict between minority and dominant cultures, of...

    • 5 Liberalism’s Last Stand: Aboriginal Sovereignty and Minority Rights
      (pp. 135-147)

      Aboriginal rights as they are entrenched in the Constitution Act, 1982 can be interpreted as rights that are accorded to Aboriginal peoples in virtue of their membership in minority cultures.¹ In this characterization of Aboriginal rights, endorsed by various forms of political liberalism, there is no need to recognize Aboriginal political sovereignty, because it simply does not exist in any serious fashion or Aboriginal sovereignty simply does not play an important role in determining the content of Aboriginal peoples’ special rights.² Legitimate political sovereignty in its most robust form within political liberalism is accorded only to the provincial and the...

    • 6 First Nations and the Derivation of Canada’s Underlying Title: Comparing Perspectives on Legal Ideology
      (pp. 148-167)

      Canada is formally an independent state. It is certainly not a colony for, asWebster’s Third International Dictionaryclearly states, a “colony” is “a body of people settled in a new territory, foreign and often distant, retaining ties with their mother or parent state.”² Canada is recognized by other states as independent and free of all British authority. Hence, it is formally not a colony. Nonetheless, to understand Canada, especially in relation to the Aboriginal fact, it is reasonable to suppose Canada is something like a colonial state, for it is founded on political institutions and values that derive solely...

    • 7 Quebec’s Conceptions of Aboriginal Rights
      (pp. 168-185)

      Constitutions are not known for the precision of their wording, especially when they entrench rights. The Canadian constitution is no exception, entrusting judges with the interpretation of such expressions as “reasonably demonstrable,” “free and democratic society,” and, certainly not least, “Aboriginal rights.”¹ This study is part of an ongoing research endeavour comprising several successive projects aiming at a better understanding of the role of the judges in the production of law through the interpretation of open-ended constitutional wording. In this chapter we analyze Quebec’s conceptions of Aboriginal ancestral rights so as to allow a comparison, in subsequent research, with the...

    • 8 The Revolution of the New Commons
      (pp. 186-218)

      For centuries Indian peoples in Mexico attempted to retain or to reclaim their old commons, theirejidos.¹ This struggle of resistance inspired the Revolution at the beginning of the century and continued during the postrevolutionary regime. It is now becoming a struggle for liberation. Based on what they still have, both materially and spiritually, Indian peoples have abandoned the impossible enterprise, still desirable for a very few, ofrestoringorreconstitutingtheir old commons. Instead, they are giving new expression to their contemporary aspirations. After enriching their vision with their own experience and that of other peoples, they have ceased...

    • 9 Indian Policy: Canada and the United States Compared
      (pp. 221-264)
      C.E.S. FRANKS

      Policies towards Aboriginal peoples in the United States and Canada embody and express fundamental views about society, the individual, and the recognition of uniformity and diversity. Though contrasts and tensions can be found in many other policy areas, the field of Aboriginal issues is a particularly rich and fertile one to explore because here all policies must, as a first step, deal explicitly or otherwise with the problem of cultural, linguistic, and legal differences between groups in the general population. It cannot be avoided. In both the United States and Canada the end result of the long historical encounter between...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 265-308)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. 309-310)
  10. Index
    (pp. 311-314)