ECMI Publications Database

#97: Non-Territorial Indigenous Self-Governance in Canada and the United States
Raphaëlle Mathieu-Bédard
European centre for Minority Issues
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Indigenous peoples and minorities throughout the world have endeavoured for centuries to rid themselves from colonialism and oppression, while governments struggle to recognize indigenous and minority rights and minorities’ rightful standing in society. Varied approaches have been adopted, with varying degrees of success – but much can be learned from past and current victories and mistakes. Both in Canada and in the United States, the federal governments have historically held exclusive and virtually unlimited authority over their indigenous populations. Yet, based on divergent interpretations of the ‘doctrine of discovery’, the two countries have long developed differing policies regarding the self-government of their indigenous[i] nations, inevitably influencing their respective indigenous self-determination movements and the emergence of indigenous, non-territorial institutions[ii]. These will be reviewed below.

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