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On Being Here to Stay

On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    On Being Here to Stay
    Book Description:

    InOn Being Here to Stay, Asch retells the story of Canada with a focus on the relationship between First Nations and settlers.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8524-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Law, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Chapter One Overview
    (pp. 3-9)

    Chief Justice Lamer speaks a truism: ‘we are all here to stay.’ Those of us whose ancestors were here prior to European settlement are here by dint of that fact. But that does not go far enough. What about those of us who came after? What, beyond the fact that we have the numbers and the power to insist on it, authorizes our being here to stay?

    It is admittedly not an issue that confronts most of us in our daily lives. Still, the topic perennially bedevils us. It lurks in the background when Indigenous peoples protest developments on what...

  5. Chapter Two Aboriginal Rights and the Canadian Constitution
    (pp. 10-33)

    In my 1984 bookHome and Native Land, I suggested that at that time there was as yet no consensus as to the meaning of the term ‘aboriginal rights,’ and that this matter was to be addressed in a series of conferences to be held between first ministers and leaders of key Indigenous organizations. However, I also concluded, based on the result of the first of these conferences, that the issue of ‘whether or not the definition of aboriginal rights included “special” political rights such as the right to self-determination for aboriginal peoples’ would become the focus of political and...

  6. Chapter Three Aboriginal Rights and Temporal Priority
    (pp. 34-58)

    Let me begin by introducing the proposition that the path the Supreme Court encourages us to take is misguided; that somehow it is wrong for us to recognize that Indigenous peoples have legal rights because they were here before us. While this proposition is not as popular as it once was, it is one with deep roots, and continues to have its adherents. Of these, there has been no greater a champion of it in the academy than political scientist Tom Flanagan, who inFirst Nations? Second Thoughtslays out what I count to be five arguments to persuade us...

  7. Chapter Four Aboriginal Rights and Self-Determination
    (pp. 59-72)

    The view that Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination follows this reasoning: once we accept that they were living in political societies when Europeans arrived, then we must conclude that they were politically self-determining at that time. Therefore, even by the standards of the era, Settlers could not treat their lands as unoccupied. But what if they did? What are the consequences of setting up a political community in the territory of an existing political community without permission?

    While there are many situations in which this may not lead to a right to self-determination, there are two, as explained...

  8. Chapter Five Treaty Relations
    (pp. 73-99)

    Of this, there can be no doubt: to move knowingly onto land belonging to others without their permission is theft. We may seek to be immigrants, we may seek a political arrangement to establish our right to govern over part or all of those lands, or we may seek a means to share jurisdiction. But we may not just move in. That is simply wrong. And, indeed, when looked at from this perspective, arguments that seek to deny the applicability of the principle of temporal priority to Canada amount to no more than justifications to avoid calling ourselves ‘thieves.’


  9. Chapter Six Treaties and Coexistence
    (pp. 100-115)

    It certainly would be easier to build an honourable relationship with our partners in Treaty 4 were we now at the moment when we first gained their permission to settle on their lands. But we cannot erase time. There is Canada, there are provinces, there has been mass migration, we have already visited much harm on our partners, and our failures to implement in full even those promises written into the treaty text are manifest, like, for example, the fact that a century and a quarter after we agreed to set aside lands for reserves in that treaty, we have...

  10. Chapter Seven Treaties and Sharing
    (pp. 116-133)

    As discussed in the last chapter, had negotiations resulted in our acquisition of sovereignty over a portion of the land in Canada or over it all, we would have known how to implement the treaties. Similarly, if, as is the case, we did not gain sovereignty over any land, we would have a clear expectation that treaty implementation required us to integrate into one or more of the political societies of our partners. Wherever we live, we are living on lands the sovereignty and jurisdiction of which are in the hands of Indigenous peoples. And we know that, following from...

  11. Chapter Eight Spirit and Intent
    (pp. 134-151)

    I am thankful for Ms Sandy’s forbearance. But, frankly, our partners do not need to wait any longer. It is long past time for us to act in good faith and begin building ‘one of the walls’ of the house of which George Kurszewski speaks. At the end of this chapter I will make a simple proposal: it is to fulfil the obligations we made in the numbered treaties, and to extend the same offer to all other Indigenous communities. But, first, I need to describe in more detail what I understand of the relationship between Settlers and Indigenous peoples...

  12. Chapter Nine Setting the Record Straight
    (pp. 152-166)

    My thesis comes down to this. Treaties offer us the means to reconcile the fact that we are ‘here to stay’ with the fact that there were people already here when we first arrived. I rely on the terms of Treaty 4 as negotiated to illustrate the obligations we entailed in coming to that kind of agreement. In chapter 8 I suggested that, had we acted in accord with what we promised at that time, we might now well be on the way to establishing a good relationship with our partners. I also concluded that (with the consent of Indigenous...

  13. Appendix I: Proportionality
    (pp. 167-170)
  14. Appendix II: Treaty Map
    (pp. 171-172)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 173-190)
  16. References
    (pp. 191-204)
  17. Index
    (pp. 205-217)