Aboriginal Self-Government and Canadian Democracy
Had institutions of government on Canadian soil for 10,000 year
Highly complex and organized tribal politics, nations peoples calling themselves as nations, and
in the 16 century opposing white settlement with ferocity and extending allied hands on the
We know that aboriginal Canadians, are younger than the median average of other Canadians,
populations are extremely dynamic, more populace in Manitoba and sask.
Way below national average after tax income and in education
Most poor of our country are aboriginal
Some of most impressive leadership is aboriginal also some of the worst
Connection between politics and economics, the way aboriginals are governed effects their life
chances, the way in which their democracy helps of hinders aboriginal development
We are part of a aboriginal international
o International dimension to this issue
Why should aboriginal Canadians have their own order of government?
o They are citizens with equal rights under the charter, why separate order? Is it
Why should access to government programs be dependent on residence on/off reserve?
o Access to services (housing, health care etc) if you are reserve and do not if you are off,
is that democratic?
o 60% of aboriginal pop. Is off reserve
o i.e. assistance for Post –secondary education
Why should aboriginal Canadians have rights other Canadians do not have?
o Access to certain services and entitlements that other Canadians do not by virtue of race
Did aboriginal Canadians consent to join Canada?
The reason we answer the first 3 questions with yes is bc there is an understanding of the
relation to Canadian democracy which is that they were here before anybody else, they ahd
order poitical before Canada even existed, and they were not asked whether or not they wanted
to join in 1867
o There was a political system in 1867; tribes there for thousands of years, not at the
quebec conference or PEI and the pre-existing aboriginal political system was not asked
whether or not it wasnted to be part of system
o The BNA Act simply said they would have jurisdiction over Indians and indian lands
o It is about democractic legitimacy
Democracy as a system is about consent, do you consent to be ruled, if you do it is legitimate, if
it is not it is not legitimate
Since that is the case, different rules need to apply to aboriginal Canadians
Indian Act 1876 o Wards (dependents) not citizens
o Status not rights
o Tax exemption
o Right to vote
o Property rights