Overview of Aboriginal Identity & Treaty Rights
Aboriginal identity is intrinsically tied to the treaties between European settlers and various Aboriginal peoples that led to the formation of Canada as we know it. While many Aboriginal people have status (affording them specific rights and benefits) as a result of the signed treaties, others do not because of Canadian legislation designed to assimilate Indigenous people over time.
On this page, you will find resources about the various treaties and other legislation that shaped Aboriginal identity. Be sure to navigate to the subsections on taxation and treaty rights by clicking on the tabs above.
Benefits Available to Aboriginal Canadians
The following links provide detailed information on the various benefits available to different Aboriginal groups in Canada.
Studies On Aboriginal Identity
Identity is intrinsically linked to legal status for Aboriginal people in Canada. The following reports take a look at Aboriginal identity in the context of classroom, adoption, and other issues.
Hover your mouse around the document for more information.
Indian Status Redefined
From the January 9, 2013 broadcast of CBC's "Power and Politics" discussing the ruling of Daniels v. Canada Federal Court of Canada's decision that persons who are Metis or non-status Indians are "Indians" as the term is used in the Constitution Act, 1867.
For an extended look at the fight for Treaty Rights among all Aboriginals in Canada, check the CBC Digital Archives for a suite of video and audio that address this issue through the years.
The New Constitutional "Indian"
Taken from a lecture at the University of Alberta's Centre for Constitutional Studies.
"Challenges, Controversies and Consequences of Daniels v Canada. Who is responsible for the more than 600,000 aboriginal peoples across Canada who are either Metis or live off-reserve -- Ottawa or the provinces? This lecture explores this question."
American Indians Confront "Savage Anxieties"
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Other Guides to Check Out
Primer on Aboriginal Status and Identity
Terminology and the ins and outs of Indian status (or lack of status) can be very complex. The following resources help explain different terms to describe the various Indigenous identities and what having status in Canada means.
Understanding Aboriginal Identity (BearPaw Media)
'Understanding Aboriginal Identity explores the complex issue of self-identification for Aboriginal people. Today, Aboriginal identity remains inextricably linked with past government legislation and the continued stereotyping of Aboriginal people in the media and Canadian history. From a Metis farm in rural Alberta, to the offices of Canada's leading scholars, Understanding Aboriginal Identity examines the factors that shape who we are.
To order this video go to www.bearpaweducation.ca/videos"
Status Requirements & Defintions
These documents explain the different terms associated with Aboriginal peoples and how it effects their legal status.
Applications & Web Links
These resources will help the visitor navigate what is available for Aboriginals depending on their status.
Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Cases in Canada. Academics as Expert Witnesses
Taken from York University's Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies "Research Matters"
"In this interview, Professor Wicken discusses his experiences over the past 18 years as an expert witness in various court cases, which have focused on the treaty and aboriginal rights of Canada's Aboriginal people. He discusses the potential pitfalls of testifying in court and the sometimes, thin line that separates objectivity from partisanship. As well, he explains how the courtroom for the academic is both a friendly place and a difficult one. In response to questions from the audience, he analyses how the courts affect current relationships between government and aboriginal communities."
Selected Titles From The BearPaw Library
The following is a listing of select titles on this topic that can be borrowed from our library.
This book eliminates the uncertainty surrounding the rules governing entitlement to Indian status. It offers:
* a thoughtful, critical approach,
* historical background,
* recent enactments and cases, and
* extensive examples
Whether you are an individual applying for registration as an Indian, a lawyer practicing in Native law, or a First nation developing and implementing a membership code, you will find this book to be an invaluable resource full of practical advice."