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First Nations and the Canadian State: Autonomy and Accountability in the Building of Self-Government

Jones, Diana M
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) M.A. thesis, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Downloaded 7 March 2005.

The thesis provides a historiography of the development of liberal democratic institutions governing First Nations in Canada. Cultural and political assimilation are present throughout the history of First Nations’ relations with the Canadian State, and currently, the political agenda of the Canadian government is one that emphasizes political assimilation. The idea that First Nations’ political and administrative relations with the Canadian government have been characterized as a relationship of tutelage and an unequal relationship of power has implications for issues surrounding self-government. Specifically, the hierarchical decision-making structure of the political institutions governing First Nations, which has been effective for implementing assimilation policies, now poses problems for local communities exercising self-government in terms of securing accountability from their leadership. Current federal self-government policy does not affirm the claim that First Nations are historically distinct peoples with unique political and legal rights. On the contrary, self-government policy can potentially diminish the special status of First Nations and suggests a strong unwillingness of the federal government to recognize peoples rights of Aboriginal peoples. Author’s abstract.


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