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

See all articles by Nopera Dennis-McCarthy

Nopera Dennis-McCarthy

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 3, 2018

Abstract

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

Dennis-McCarthy, Nopera, Reconciliation and Self-Determination: Incorporating Indigenous Worldviews on the Environment into Non-Indigenous Legal Systems (September 3, 2018). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 8/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448934

Nopera Dennis-McCarthy (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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