Searching for Principle: Reconciling Tribal Membership and Liberal Values
20 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2018
Many Indigenous groups, including iwi (Māori tribal groups), determine membership based solely on descent. Descent-based membership criteria are seen as illiberal, even within a liberal multicultural framework that accommodates minority cultural groups. Current attempts to justify descent-based membership rely more on pragmatic than theoretical justifications. In the context of iwi, an empirical study of tikanga Māori (Indigenous law) demonstrates that descent-based membership criteria enhance Māori autonomy. Liberalism should recognize descent-based membership requirements as inherently liberal when they promote autonomy.
Keywords: Legal theory, indigeneity and law, New Zealand law, Maori law
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