Aboriginal Title and Self-Government in Canada: What is the True Scope of Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements?
Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues, Vol. 22, pp. 29-78, 2006
50 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2016
This article argues that there is currently insufficient recognition by the Canadian government of Aboriginal title and self-government as crucial components of comprehensive land claims agreements. While formal government recognition of Aboriginal self-government has occurred, for the most part comprehensive agreements do not incorporate robust conceptions of self-government. Moreover, in practice, federal policies of blanket and partial extinguishment of Aboriginal title have been a source of significant contention for Aboriginal peoples. In order to rectify the historical injustice committed against Aboriginal peoples, including the harm of colonial assimilation, it is imperative that recognition of Aboriginal title and self-government fill primary roles in comprehensive land claims agreements. This article employs a comparative approach, assessing Canadian government recognition of Aboriginal title and self-government alongside that laid out by the Supreme Court of Canada. The article accounts for the divergence between the two approaches, including the implications of what actually happens in practice.
Keywords: Aboriginal title, Aboriginal self-government, comprehensive land claim agreements, Canadian government policy, judicial interpretation
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