By Dan Russell
Written through a practicing Aboriginal attorney, this booklet argues that Aboriginal self-government in Canada may most sensible be accomplished through a constitutional modification, now not via treaties, as has been the preoccupation of provincial governments seeing that 1982.
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Extra resources for A People’s Dream: Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada
These communities suffer from many of the same problems that afflict all communities in North America. Economic instability, unemployment, crime, and social decay have as serious an impact in these communities as they do in the small towns or large cities of Canada. If one believes that, by simply recognizing Aboriginal self-government in Canada, these problems will disappear, then one need only consider the American tribal experience. Economic instability or high unemployment will not fade away simply because a local government has the power to so decree it.
The natural questions that followed upon Williams were: “Are there any areas in which a state might wish to legislate regarding non-Indian activity that don’t infringe on essential tribal interests? ” Although the infringement test is not as all-encompassing a prohibition as is enunciated in Worcester, it has nevertheless been highly effective in barring the exercise of a state’s jurisdiction. Williams v. Lee has been used to reaffirm tribal authority and to exclude state jurisdiction in a long list of cases.
However, local governments may know how best to utilize resources within their communities in resolving such problems. Similarly, crime and social disruptions will not vanish just because an Aboriginal person occupies an adjudicatory position. However, US tribal courts, particularly more traditional ones such as the Navajo Peacemaker and the Pueblo courts, have illustrated that community problems are perhaps best resolved consensually rather than adversarially. American tribal communities have made great strides in undertaking the resolution of these and many other social problems, attracting health care, legal, and other professionals and initiating economic investment.