Indigenous Peoples Are Not Seen as Equals in Confederation; It’s Time to Fix That
Credits: Centre for International Governance Innovation
The first Indian Act in Canada created an unfair relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous peoples. Under the Act, Indigenous peoples were not recognized as independent or self-governed polities. In this video, CIGI expert Joshua Nichols considers Indigenous peoples’ self-governance alongside the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions about the Province of Quebec’s request to leave Canada in the 1990s. The court viewed Quebec as a founding partner in Confederation and therefore, the rest of Canada could not ignore Quebec’s request. Indigenous peoples, however, are not regarded as founding members of Confederation. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which the Canadian Government has said they support, makes clear the need for nations to rethink their legal systems with Indigenous peoples. If Canada is to move forward with UNDRIP implementation, then it must address the colonial heritage built into its constitutional order.
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