Citizenship and the Challenge of Aboriginal Self‐Government: Is Deep Diversity Desirable?

Joseph H. Carens

in Culture, Citizenship, and Community

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297680
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598937 | DOI:
Citizenship and the Challenge of Aboriginal Self‐Government: Is Deep Diversity Desirable?

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Explores the possibilities of reconciling the demands of aboriginal peoples in Canada for forms of self‐government that will reflect and protect their distinct cultural traditions with the idea of a shared Canadian citizenship based on equality and political unity. It outlines the long history of the use of Canadian citizenship as a tool of coercive assimilation of First Nations people in Canada and argues that this history justifies considerable wariness on their part toward any project of civic integration. It also considers the question of whether the cultural differences between aboriginal people and other Canadians would warrant some limitations on the application of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canada's Bill of Rights) to aboriginal people. Finally, the chapter argues that a unitary model of citizenship is bound to fail to achieve the civic integration of aboriginal people. It contends that a version of differentiated citizenship that makes dialogue over justice and cultural difference central is the best hope for achieving civic integration, though it is an approach that carries its own risks.

Keywords: aboriginal people; Canada; Charter of Rights and Freedoms; citizenship; civic integration; cultural difference; deep diversity; justice; self‐government

Chapter.  10887 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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