A People’s Dream: Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada by Dan Russell

By Dan Russell

Written by way of a practicing Aboriginal attorney, this publication argues that Aboriginal self-government in Canada could top be completed through a constitutional modification, no longer via treaties, as has been the preoccupation of provincial governments due to the fact that 1982.

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Extra resources for A People’s Dream: Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada

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In the end, Aboriginal communities themselves must decide where the authority of self-government will reside. Lessons for Canada 37 This belief is based on general notions of democracy as well as on current ideological approaches in international law. 101 The argument in favour of self-identification also receives support in Western political theory. When political scientists have asked why any government should have the right to impose laws or obligations on its citizens or, for that matter, why these citizens should comply, a contractual theory is often offered in reply.

The central tribal government has representation, based on population, from each of its nine communities. However, each “village” establishes how it will be governed locally. Some have elected councils, while others are led by religious leaders in a more traditional style of government. In these latter instances, there have been periodic disputes about whether the Hopi Tribal Council can speak on their behalf regarding certain matters. Just next door, in the State of New Mexico, reside the Pueblo people, cultural cousins of the Hopi.

But which criminal laws would then apply to non-Indians who committed criminal offences against tribal members? If the state and not the federal government enacted criminal codes, then what criminal law was left to be enforced? It would appear that there was no federal criminal law that would apply. Would this mean that any criminal behaviour was fair game on the reservation? The General Crimes Act was intended, in part, to remedy this uncertainty, yet it did not articulate an extensive list of criminal prohibitions.

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