Expansion of the Canadian Polis: Replicating International Legal Norms of Indigenous Self-Determination in the Canadian Context
RACE AND RACISM IN 21ST CENTURY CANADA, Sean P. Hier and B. Singh Bolaria, eds., Broadview Press Ltd., 2007
38 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2016
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the polis is "a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community." Much of the relevant scholarship explores the obvious disconnect between notions of Canadian community and marginalised Indigenous groups. This paper will put forth the assertion that the Canadian polis must be expanded to encompass international legal conceptions of Indigenous self-determination, thereby facilitating greater inclusion of Indigenous communities through the recognition of their rights.
The paper will include a legal analysis of Indigenous self-determination alongside notions of "peoples," both as represented under international law. This will lead to an in-depth evaluation of the extent to which Indigenous self-determination under international law can be replicated in the Canadian context. This will include legal analyses of whether Indigenous peoples constitute "peoples," rather than minority groups, and therefore, are holders of a right of self-determination.
Ultimately, the paper will argue that Indigenous self-determination is the right of Indigenous peoples to choose how they live their shared lives and structure their communities based on their own norms, laws, and cultures. Furthermore, it will be argued that in the Canadian context, Aboriginal communities constitute "peoples," not simply minority groups, and therefore, should be recognised as holders of a right of self-determination as defined by international law. However, these conceptions require a significant expansion of the Canadian polis from its current depiction to include the replication of international legal norms of Indigenous self-determination. Ultimately, they necessitate an expanded role for international law as it pertains to Indigenous communities within the Canadian polis.
Keywords: Indigenous Self-Determination, International Law, Canadian Polis
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