The United States may be moving toward recognition of the United Nation’s International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Australia has already announced it will do so. New Zealand may be re-considering its opposition the the Declaration as well. If so, this will leave Canada the only member in the UN voting against it, because Canada (as usual) is hoping to legislate Indians out of existence before that’s necessary.

The fact that Canada will be alone in its refusal to recognize Indigenous rights should not surprise Indigenous peoples, nor should it anyone else. Canada has maintained hypocritical, illogical and ridiculous positions on Indigenous rights all along.

  • Canada says it respects the right of self-determination while making sure its legislative leghold traps remain firm, keeping Indigenous peoples in a system of internal colonialism.
  • Canada says it wants to resolve disputes about Indigenous rights to land and resources by honouring existing treaties and land agreements, but continues to be the main reason for the huge back log at land claims, wasting millions of dollars each year, and provoking legal bar fights over resource issues. 
  • Canada says it supports Indigenous rights, but does not seem to have a clue what that means. Or if it does, Canada seems to be stuck in 19th century attitudes and legal opinions about Indigenous peoples and their rights.

So here’s a suggestion. Follow this link and read. Canadians really need to educate themselves about the Indigneous peoples that their governments deny even exist. They may need to drag their country into the 21st. century.

The critical point here is that nation states assume their citizens accept the government and the political and cultural rules of social and political process. This, however, is a main point of contention between nation states and indigenous peoples, who have their own cultures, forms of government, economies and communities. Indigenous peoples live in communities or nations that are organized differently than nation states and many indigenous peoples do not recognize the authority or power of nation states, although they are often compelled to abide by their rules.

Indigenous peoples are often not, if ever, consensual citizens within the nation states that have assumed power and territory surrounding indigenous communities. Immigrants are asked to become naturalized and take an oath of allegiance to the nation state. Indigenous peoples, however, have been legislated into citizenship, and have not voluntarily taken oaths of loyalty or willingness to uphold or recognize the constitutions of nation states. Indigenous peoples generally are not parties to, did not consent to, and often did not participate in the constitution formation of nation states. While many indigenous peoples are loyal to their nation states, they at the same time want recognition of their political, cultural and territorial traditions.