The Decolonization of Canada: Moving Toward Recognition of Aboriginal Governments

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Western Legal History. Volume 7, Number 1 (1994), p. 113-141.


Aboriginal; Canada; Decolonization; governance; government


For seven months in 1992, Canada engaged in a soul-searching examination of itself as a nation. The long process of constitutional renewal reached a climax on October 26 of that year, when Canadians voted in a referendum to decide whether the Constitution should be renewed on the basis of an agreement reached by the nation's leaders after extensive consultations and negotiations. That agreement of August 1992, known as the Charlottetown Accord, was designed to resolve a number of long-lasting problems with the present Constitution that have caused deep divisions in the country. The primary aims of this article are to analyze the proposals regarding Aboriginal self-government in the Charlottetown Accord, and to assess the impact of the defeat of the accord on future relations between the Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state. However, for these matters to be properly understood they must be placed in the context of the historical background leading to the August agreement.

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