Academic journal article Review of Constitutional Studies

Enduring Eliminatory Logics, Market Rationalities, and Territorial Desires: Assessing the Harper Government's Legacy concerning Aboriginal Rights

Academic journal article Review of Constitutional Studies

Enduring Eliminatory Logics, Market Rationalities, and Territorial Desires: Assessing the Harper Government's Legacy concerning Aboriginal Rights

Article excerpt

This paper examines governmental policies surrounding issues of land and territory in the context of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state. It traces not only a committed effort during Stephen Harper's tenure as Prime Minister to establish private property regimes on Aboriginal reserves, but also the creation of a policy framework surrounding land, energy infrastructure, and treaty rights which radiate with eliminatory rationalities. The paper argues that these logics not only undercut Indigenous jurisdictions and territorial claims in favour of existing constitutional structures and non-Aboriginal economic interests, but also serve to represent Aboriginal peoples as "Canadians" seeking forms of integration into the broader social and economic structures of settler society. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates that conservative discourses surrounding "marketization" and "reconciliation" have worked in tandem to dispossess Indigenous peoples and sustain the legal, social, and territorial boundaries of the Canadian state. It concludes by questioning the extent to which the newly elected Liberal government under Justin Trudeau will truly embrace Indigenous understandings of non-exploitative territorial relationships and responsibilities, or whether it will continue the policy trajectory strengthened by the Harper Conservatives of treating Indigenous territories as settler-colonial sites of unrealized economic potential for the benefit, and protection, of the larger "Canadian" nation.

L'auteur de cet article examine les politiques gouvernementales entourant des questions liees aux terres et au territoire dans le contexte de la reconciliation entre les peuples autochtones et l'Etat canadien. Il fait l'historique non seulement d'un effort engage durant le mandat de Stephen Harper comme premier ministre pour etablir des regimes de propriete privee sur des reserves autochtones mais aussi de la creation d'un cadre strategique entourant les terres, l'infrastructure energetique et les droits issus des traites qui debordent de rationalites eliminatoires. L'auteur soutient que ces logiques sapent non seulement les competences et les revendications territoriales autochtones au profit de structures constitutionnelles existantes et d'interets economiques non autochtones, mais servent egalement a presenter les peuples autochtones comme des << Canadiens >> cherchant des formes d'integration au sein des structures sociales et economiques plus large de la societe colonisatrice. Au bout du compte, l'auteur demontre que les discours conservateurs entourant la << marcheisation >> et la << reconciliation >> ont travaille en tandem pour deposseder les peuples autochtones et maintenir les limites juridiques, sociales et territoriales de l'Etat canadien. Il conclut l'article en se penchant sur la question a savoir dans quelle mesure le nouveau gouvernement liberal de Justin Trudeau embrassera vraiment les comprehensions autochtones des relations et des responsabilites territoriales qui ne sont pas exploitrices ou s'il continuera la trajectoire politique renforcee par les conservateurs de Harper qui consiste a traiter les territoires autochtones comme des sites colonisateurs (coloniaux) de potentiel economique non realise pour le bien et la protection de la nation << canadienne >> en son ensemble.

Introduction

While the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian federal government ostensibly appears to be changing with a renewed focus on the "recognition of rights," the long overdue calling of an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and the cessation of measures of compliance under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, it remains to be seen to what extent the newly elected Liberal government under Justin Trudeau will truly transform the political and discursive legacies of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government. …

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