Researching and asserting Aboriginal rights in Rupert's Land

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Murdoch, John Stewart
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Native American Studies
It was the realization that certain legal, economic and political questions, unresolved, frustrate, even prevent satisfying lives in the relatively small world of Waskaganish that motivated this thesis study about protecting the liberties of the Aboriginal inhabitants of what was formerly called Rupert’s Land. This author was well aware that such liberties have not enjoyed the kind and level of protection that is normal elsewhere in Canada from arbitrary use of authority. But, this author believed and is now assured that this is an error that can be corrected within the current Canadian legal and political system. Investigating the assurances granted to the inhabitants of Rupert’s Land at the time of annexation produced a solemn and binding promise made by the Canadian House of Commons and Senate to Her Majesty’s Government of Great Britain. That promise was entrenched in Canada’s first constitution, itself a British statute. In the form of proclamations, orders-in-council, published documents and sworn testimony, this study uncovered the proof of such assurances, their content and their survival. Moreover, these forms of proof are all admissible in the fact-finding of Canadian courts as ‘so notorious as to not require any further proof. The ressurection and revival of these assurances is fundamentally important to achieving any education or socio-cultural goal. Equally important is the need to understand why and how these assurances have been so long suppressed. In addition, this author needed to explore the convergence possible between the command order of the Canadian state and the customary order of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Rupert’s Land. Such convergence is prerequisite to restoring the relative equilibrium that characterized two centuries of a bijural relationship between the Hudson’s Bay Company and Aboriginal First Nations. Finally, the author illustrates and corroborates such a bijural approach in the example of training, apprenticeship and recognition of competence within common, provincialy certified trades.
Ruper's Land , Waskaganish First Nation , government relations , civil rights , Indigenous peoples -- Civil rights