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Argument Against Native Sovereignty In Canda

2131 words - 9 pages

This paper supports Thomas Flanagan's argument against Native sovereignty in Canada; through an evaluation of the meanings of sovereignty it is clear that Native sovereignty can not coexist with Canadian sovereignty. Flanagan outlines two main interpretations of sovereignty. Through an analysis of these ideas it is clear that Native Sovereignty in Canada can not coexist with Canadian sovereignty.

The first interpretation of sovereignty that is examined by Flanagan views sovereignty in an international sense. Sovereignty for these leaders means gaining more international power and acceptance. Flanagan argues that major international bodies such as the United Nations will be accepting such an attempt at sovereignty (71). As the second largest country in the world the geographical constraints on uniting Aboriginal people living across the country plays a significant factor. Flanagan also points to the diversity within this group; there are over six hundred bands across the ten provinces in Canada in more than 2,200 reserves. Compounding the geographical constraints facing their unity, Aboriginal bands in Canada often differ from each other significantly in their culture including language religion/customs (Flanagan 71). Many Aboriginal people now choose to live off reserve which further complicates their unity (Flanagan 73). Flanagan highlights that as many small bodies they would not be able to survive in the competition of the international community. Current international governance is extremely complex and Flanagan argues it is unlikely for poor isolated people to succeed (73). One united aboriginal voice is also highly unlikely according to Flanagan; having been freed of one power most bands would not choose to become connected to another (71). Therefore Flanagan clearly shows that Native sovereignty can not exist in Canada.

Flanagan's analysis of Native sovereignty internationally is effectively argued. International organizations such as the World Trade Organization and United Nations would be hesitant to accept sovereignty of Aboriginal people. Although it is commonly known that many bands within Canada have access to significant natural resources the majority do not. Flanagan is very direct in stating that (outside of transfer payments from the government of Canada which would presumably stop to a sovereign nations) most bands are very weak economically (73). It would be extremely difficult therefore to afford to send delegates to these international bodies. Without significant monetary support no sovereign state can be involved in significant international organizations. Flanagan also soundly refutes the idea of a united Aboriginal sovereign state. Most Aboriginals would likely agree the greatest evil committed against them by European settlers has been the attempts of assimilation. By gaining sovereignty they would be free from these attempts, at least in theory. However in order to develop a significant voice working as one...

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