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Lecture 13

Aboriginal People and the Canadian Constitution (Lecture 13) - Nov. 20, 2012.docx

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University of Saskatchewan
Political Studies
POLS 303
Joe Garcea

Aboriginal People and the Canadian Constitution (Lecture 13) November-20-12 12:23 PM Who are Aboriginal Peoples?  According to the Constitution, 1982, Aboriginal peoples are defined as "Indians, Inuit and Metis" who have "aboriginal and treaty rights."  Aboriginals were only allowed to vote federally in 1960.  Royal Proclamation, 1763: o Reserved to Aboriginal peoples. Aboriginal Rights:  Not highlighted in the BNA, 1867.  Very limited in early Canadian political life.  Further limitations: o The 1927 Indian Act denied the Aboriginal people of Canada from speaking their native language, or practicing their original religion. o People were treated as wards of the state. Prior to Constitution Act, 1982:  The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty applied to Aboriginal rights.  Implied that rights could be limited or extinguished through legislation enacted by legislative body.  No rights were outlined in the Constitution. Indian Act, 1867  Reflecting the racial and gendered biases of the time, the original "Indian" Act defined "Indian" as any "male person of Indian blood reputed to belong to a particular band," any of his children and his legal right.  Complexity o Under the terms of the Canadian federalism, the federal government has the power to regulate First Nations' policy. o Limited tax exemptions exist.  One of the debates surrounding S.91 (24) who was considered an "Indian" under the Act o In 1939, the SCC held that Inuit were subject to federal jurisdiction and were to be considered "Indians" under the Act. o But the statute was changed to expressively exclude Inuit peoples from its application. Provincial Legislative Power  Provincial governments can't pass laws in relation to "Indians." Section 35(1) Constitut
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