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By Their Own Admission: The Canadian Government, Canada's Aboriginal People and the Meaning of Sovereignty - Essay Example

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Name 1 Name Class Instructor Date By Their Own Admission: The Canadian Government, Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and the Meaning of Sovereignty Data from the 2006 Canadian census revealed a litany of facts that lead to one inescapable conclusion: Canada’s aboriginal populations contribute substantially to the country’s cultural and economic prosperity…
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By Their Own Admission: The Canadian Government, Canadas Aboriginal People and the Meaning of Sovereignty
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By Their Own Admission: The Canadian Government, Canada's Aboriginal People and the Meaning of Sovereignty

Download file to see previous pages... In the modern era, nationalist sentiment among the country’s aboriginal peoples has percolated just below the surface of the national domestic agenda since the 1960s. The debate over the concept of “citizens plus,” in which Aboriginal Canadians possess full citizenship “plus other rights,” has been present in varying degrees of intensity for more than half a century (Fossum, Poirier and Magnette, 2009, p. 129). To this civic model has been added the notion of “citizens plural,” which goes even further in establishing the nation’s indigenous peoples as transcending the definition of a Canadian citizen. This “pseudo-franchise” recognizes that indigenous peoples know best how to define their own ‘public interest’ and how best to Name 2 promote, implement and protect it” (Ibid). The incremental recognition of what are essentially native rights to self determination possess a cumulative moral and legal force, which distinguish the identity of the three groups identified by the 1982 Constitutional amendment. As such, the only logical conclusion to what has proven an inexorable historical process is that Canada’s Aboriginal communities are distinct populations that should be recognized as independent nations. To deny this view, as do many Canadians, is to contradict the country’s constitutional principles. Many continue to insist that Aboriginal peoples should be assimilated, should seek nothing more than to be Canadian citizens. However, the relationship between citizenship rights and recognized Aboriginal identity is a complex one; one which is misunderstood and overlooked by many Canadians. What is more, this viewpoint ignores important aspects of the constitutionally established status of Aboriginals within the framework of Canadian legal and legislative tradition. “Although Aboriginal people in Canada are legally equal ‘citizens,’ they are in effect ruled by other citizens, who are not Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people in Canada are ruled but do not rule, contrary to (Canadian) democratic ideals” (Fossum, Poirier and Magnette, 2009, p. 145). According to Canadian citizenship models, specifically, the “citizens plural” construct, a state in which “First Nation” Indians, Inuit and Metis are ruled by other citizens without their consent is both a philosophical betrayal and a legal transgression. In such a condition, the only coherent and proper course of action is to extend full sovereignty to the nation’s indigenous peoples. Name 3 The establishment of Aboriginal rights in Canada has been an incremental process that began with the exploitation and intimidation of native peoples after the establishment of treaties in the late 19th century. These treaties, which were established between the new Canadian government and the various tribes, were intended to be the instruments through which the two parties would co-exist according to national law. But matters took an opportunistic turn when power politics came into play because “once Canadian authorities saw that they had a military and economic advantage over the Aboriginal peoples, they undertook to unilaterally legislate these relations, without consulting the treaty groups, and often in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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