Chapter 1: Aboriginal Peoples


James Tully, “A Just Relationship between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Peoples of Canada”

Understanding

  1. What does Tully mean by the colonial relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples of Canada? What are his criticisms of the colonial relationship?
  2. “Aboriginal peoples should be recognised as equal, coexisting, and self-governing nations and accommodated by renewing the treaty relationship,” Tully writes. What does he mean by “renewing the treaty relationship”?
  3. “[T]he international legitimacy of Canada as a self-governing federation actually rests on its recognition by the Aboriginal peoples, not the other way round,” Tully writes. Why does he think mutual recognition must begin with Aboriginal peoples rather than with Canada?
  4. 4. Tully describes the dialogue in which Aboriginal peoples and Canadians must engage as “intercultural.” What makes it intercultural rather than simply cultural? Why is intercultural dialogue more difficult than a dialogue within a culture?
  5. Tully says Aboriginal peoples and Canadians mean different things by “respect.” What are the Aboriginal meanings? What are non-Aboriginal meanings? How can Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples come to respect each other?
  6. What does Tully mean by “sharing,” and why is it important for forging a new relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada? Why does he focus on “economic, political, and legal relations”?
  7. The final principle Tully discusses is mutual responsibility. How does he think Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal senses of mutual responsibility can be reconciled?
  8. Tully says establishing a just relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians also “preserves and enhances the values of liberal democracy.” How does it do this?

Evaluation

  1. Tully argues that Aboriginal peoples in Canada should be recognized as self-governing sub-state nations within Canada. What are the implications of this view? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  2. Unlike the Canadian government, Tully thinks treaties should be viewed as nation-to-nation agreements. What are the implications of this view? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

John Borrows, “‘Landed’ Citizenship: Narratives of Aboriginal Political Participation”

Understanding

  1. Borrows begins by discussing Harold Cardinal’s The Unjust Society (1969) and the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Why does he think Aboriginal peoples need a different approach than what is offered in either of those documents?
  2. “Aboriginal citizenship must be extended to encompass other people from around the world who have come to live on our land,” Borrows writes. What does he mean by extending Aboriginal citizenship to non-Aboriginal people?
  3. Borrows criticizes “an exclusive citizenship and measured separatism for Indians, through a form of self-government.” Why does he think this view is limited? What does he propose instead?
  4. What does Borrows mean by “the land as citizen,” as “an entity in its own right”? How will conceiving the land as citizen help Aboriginal peoples resist assimilation?
  5. Borrows advocates “Aboriginal control of both Canadian and Aboriginal affairs.” What does he mean by this? Why does he think Aboriginal people should have control of non-Aboriginal affairs?
  6. Borrows argues in favour of representation of Aboriginal peoples within Canada, proportionate to their population within Canada (roughly 5 per cent). How would this make a difference?
  7. Borrows says Aboriginal citizenship may include non-Aboriginals, as long as there are “rigorous citizenship requirements.” What kinds of requirements do you think he mean?
  8. At the beginning of the reading, Borrows proposes that we “re-inscribe [Aboriginal] laws, and once again invoke a citizenship with the land.” What does he mean by “re-inscribing Aboriginal laws”? What does he mean by “citizenship with the land”?

Evaluation

  1. What does Borrows mean by “Aboriginal control of Canadian affairs”? How would this affect Aboriginal peoples? How would it affect non-Aboriginal peoples? Do you think it would be a good thing for Aboriginal peoples? for non-Aboriginal peoples? Why?
  2. Why does Borrows say that Aboriginal citizenship could include non-Aboriginal people, as long as they met the criteria for Aboriginal citizenship? What would the criteria for Aboriginal citizenship be if they could include non-Aboriginal people? Do you agree with him here? Why or why not?

Monique Deveaux, “Conflicting Equalities? Cultural Group Rights and Sex Equality”

Understanding

  1. According to some Aboriginal people, the Charter conflicts with Aboriginal practices. What are some of these conflicts?
  2. Deveaux says the conflicts between the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s arguments for sex equality and the arguments of male-dominated groups such as the Assembly of First Nations embodied “two critical normative tensions” regarding sex equality and group rights. The first concerns conflicting interpretations of equality. What were the conflicting interpretations?
  3. The second tension concerned individual versus collective rights. What were the conflicting interpretations of rights?
  4. Deveaux says there are three ways to reconcile equality rights and collective rights. She calls the first “the view from tradition.” What does she mean by this? Why does she reject this view?
  5. The second she calls “the collective rights/human rights approach.” What does she mean by this? Why does she reject this view?

Evaluation

  1. Some Aboriginal women argued that Aboriginal self-government should be subject to the Charter. Other Aboriginal people disagreed. What was the disagreement? Do you agree with one of these views? Why?
  2. Deveaux favours a view she calls “the equality view.” What is this view, and why does she prefer it? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?

Comparisons

  1. Tully thinks mutual recognition must begin with Aboriginal peoples rather than with non-Aboriginal peoples. Do you think Borrows would agree? Do you? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think Tully would agree with Deveaux’s “equality view”? Would Borrows? Do you? Why?