Urban Aboriginal People and the Honour of the Crown - A Discussion Paper
(2015) 66 University of New Brunswick Law Journal 263–299.
37 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2015
Date Written: June 24, 2015
Aboriginal people in Canada are urbanizing along with other Canadians and, in fact, the global human population. Empirical research suggests that Aboriginal people thrive in the urban environment. Despite this, a strong mythology persists that imagines the Aboriginal person as residing in rural settings, usually on a remote reserve. By contrast, the urban landscape is described as hostile and fundamentally unsuited to Aboriginal living. The mythology persists because there is a lack of awareness about the needs, aspirations, contributions and social structures of urban Aboriginal populations in Canada. In this paper, we explore whether governmental mechanisms developed in the context of the constitutional duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples should be mobilized to improve awareness about urban Aboriginal populations and governmental responsiveness to their needs and aspirations. We discuss the legal framework of the duty to consult, the conceptual and practical challenges in making the duty to consult work for urban Aboriginal people and we point to areas where further research is required.
Keywords: Aboriginal Peoples, urbanization, recognition, identity, representation, socio-economic rights
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