Post colonial Canada? government approach to implementing treaty First Nation land and resource rights

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Tanner, Tracey
Past and present colonial policies and legislation permit continuous infringement on Numbered Treaty First Nation rights, lands, resources, and Peoples—suppressing opportunities for political and socio-economic advancement. In 2016, Canada announced its Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights (RIR) mandate to renew Crown/First Nation relations. New rights-based initiatives would amend domestic laws and policies to reflect international Indigenous rights outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), guided by the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal People Final Report and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. This research examined government actions to recognize and implement prior recommendations and frameworks presented in these inquiries to determine Canada's support for Numbered Treaty First Nation's self-determination of land and resource rights. Research then analyzed four primary proposed or enacted RIR initiatives to assess their alignment with UNDRIP. These include Canada's Ten Principles, National Engagement/What We Heard So Far, Recognition, and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework Overview, and Bill C-15. This research followed a critical social research methodology using qualitative document and discourse analysis methods. Data collection, interpretation, and analysis located events within a broad historical and social setting to compare Canada's colonial history with contemporary ideologies, systems, and institutions. I used a critical discourse decolonial theory derived from discourse, postcolonial and decolonial theoretical concepts. This perspective reflected how colonialism created and maintains Canadian power structures, with those in power structuring knowledge and formulating unquestioned societal norms and truths. Findings revealed that the federal Crown's RIR mandate is heavy on political rhetoric yet light on substantial legislative or policy changes that may decolonize ideologies, systems, and institutions. Canada's domestic approach to Treaty First Nation rights, lands, resources, and Peoples continues to uphold settler coloniality through Western ideologies, power imbalances, and constitutional supremacy that subjugates both Indigenous perspectives and international rights standards.
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