Reconciliation and Self-Determination: Incorporating Indigenous Worldviews on the Environment into Non-Indigenous Legal Systems
48 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2019 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 3, 2018
Reconciliation and self-determination are two fundamental claims of Indigenous peoples in their relationship with the state. The recent enactment of the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017, and the inclusion of the “Rights of Nature” in the Ecuadorian Constitution nearly a decade earlier, provide two key case studies of how incorporation of Indigenous worldviews into non-Indigenous legal systems have the potential to give rise to both reconciliation and self-determination. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the process of incorporation for both Te Awa Tupua and the Rights of Nature, which infer two tentative conclusions. Firstly, the incorporation of an Indigenous perspective into a non-Indigenous legal system has the potential to foster reconciliation between a people and a system who have often been at odds, but this potential will not be realised if the process is not enacted in a conciliatory and mutually respectful manner. Secondly, while effective incorporation may allow for reconciliation, it does not necessarily provide Indigenous peoples with the legal self-determination to fully realise and enforce their worldview.
Keywords: Indigenous, Māori, Reconciliation, Rights of Nature, Self-Determination
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation