By Dan Russell
Written by way of a working towards Aboriginal legal professional, this booklet argues that Aboriginal self-government in Canada might most sensible be accomplished through a constitutional modification, no longer via treaties, as has been the preoccupation of provincial governments when you consider that 1982.
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Additional info for A People’s Dream: Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada
Participation in them is generally voluntary, but in some circumstances, as in the case of the Laguna people of New Mexico, Pueblo members are required by law each year to participate in certain traditional customs (the Myadormos Ordinance is discussed in Chapter 6). They include not only practices that rehabilitate the physical structures of the Pueblo but also customs designed to reinforce the cultural and spiritual elements of this community. These customs do not typically have a coordinate expression in non-tribal communities.
Understandably, many of these communities came to believe that, if they had to rely on federal prosecutors, then they would be insufficiently protected from non-Indian offenders. Hence, the Suquamish tribe itself decided to prosecute Oliphant for an offence included under the Major Crimes Act. Acknowledging federal jurisdiction under the act, the tribe nevertheless asserted that it possessed concurrent criminal authority, which, it claimed, had simply been dormant for years. The tribe now wanted to reassert this authority in the absence of aggressive federal prosecution.
However, to the surprise of most observers, Duro successfully borrowed the court’s reasoning from Oliphant. He argued that, although indeed he was an Indian, he was not an Indian from this reservation. Thus, just as in Oliphant, in which the accused could not run for tribal office, vote in elections, or sit as a member of a jury, Duro should also be exempt from the criminal laws of this tribe. 35 Oliphant had provided the court with an opportunity to further diminish the jurisdiction of a tribal government simply by refining the Cherokee Nation principles.