Uncertain Accommodation

Aboriginal Identity and Group Rights in the Supreme Court of Canada

Dimitrios Panagos

  • Published: 2016. Paperback May 2017
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies; Politics; Law
  • Bibliographic information: 176 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

In 1982, Canada formally recognized Aboriginal rights within its Constitution. The move reflected a consensus that states should and could use group rights to protect and accommodate subnational groups within their borders. Decades later, however, no one is happy. This state of affairs, Panagos argues, is rooted in a failure to define what aboriginality means, which has led to the promotion and protection of a single vision of aboriginality - that of the justices of the Supreme Court. He concludes that there can be no justice so long as the state continues to safeguard a set of values and interests defined by non-Aboriginal people.
Dimitrios Panagos is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Memorial University.

"With clarity and insight, Dimitrios Panagos traces the origins and subsequent judicial interpretations of section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, and shows that the Supreme Court's jurisprudence has failed to take seriously the self-understandings of Aboriginal peoples. This highly readable book powerfully demonstrates how theory and legality can illuminate each other, and it reveals the distance that Canada has yet to go to build a sufficiently rich conception of its relationship with Aboriginal peoples."
-Burke Hendrix, author of Ownership, Authority, and Self-Determination: Moral Principles and Indigenous Rights Claims

1. The Historical and Legal Framework for Section 35
2. Competing Approaches and Conceptualizations of Aboriginality
3. The Case for a Relational Approach
4. The Nation-to-Nation, Colonial, and Citizen-State Approaches
5. Submissions to the Court
6. What the Justices Said
7. Aboriginal Rights Jurisprudence and Identity Contestation
8. A Problematic Conception of Rights