Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sovereignty and Self-Government

What is sovereignty/self-government?
Sovereignty "is closely related to the difficult concepts of state and government and of independence and democracy"(Britannica). In the Native Sovereignty Movement, it is often used as a synonym to self-government. Mostly, it refers to an increase in the power of Native people to run themselves. 

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition(ARC) which does have regional groups across Canada defines specifically aboriginal self-government as:
"Self-government is the means by which Aboriginal peoples could give concrete expression
 of themselves as distinct peoples, develop the economic potential of their own lands, and design own cultural, social, and religious institutions to meet the needs of their own people"(Aboriginal Rights Coalition)

Map of the estimated many different tribal distribution at time of contact.
Why is self-government important to these Native groups? I would argue it is due to the labeling of Native. Native is a term that actually covers a variety of cultures when settlers arrived they were all considered Indians.
In today's culture, there still is this idea that they are more similar in culture to each other than to other cultures(Young-Leslie). Once this idea begins it become easier to see why a group that has been marginalized would want to govern itself: if the popular idea that any Native is closer to another Native than to another Canadian citizen is true then it would lead to questioning why Native people are not governed by Natives. After all, supposedly they are all Natives right?
This logic is why I would argue that this movement is a self fulfilling prophesy: the government grouped together cultures, labeled them as one, and then is confused when they gain power and want the right to govern themselves. Native is a non-existent country with as many varied cultures as Canada and now they want rights and self-government.

Next Blog I will be talking about major Actors that have/are playing a role in the Native Sovereignty Movement

To read more about ARC: click here

Work Cited
Aboriginal Rights Coalition. Electronic source.

Britannica Academic Edition. Electronic source.
Britannica Academic Edition. Electronic source.

Dr. Young-Leslie, Heather. Lecture slides. March 5th "Ethnicity".

8th Fire Tribal Map. Electronic resource.

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