Master of Arts
Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction
This thesis discusses whether Indigenous land claims settlements signal reconciliation between Indigenous nations and the Government of Canada. Using Indigenous methodologies, anti-oppressional and intersectional lenses, and process tracing, it argues that land claim settlements do not signal reconciliation of the Indigenous-Canadian relationship. This is because the modern land claims settlement process exists as a reiteration of the colonial policies and institutions that proceeded it. It examines the historical treaty process, case law on Aboriginal rights and title, existing documents, and statutes that protect and promote Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood. Lastly, it examines the 2015 Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a transitional justice mechanism for reconciliation, and its limitations in resolving land claims in the spirit of meaningful reconciliation within Canada. It concludes that there is a need for incorporating international legal frameworks into the land claim settlement process between Indigenous nations and the Government of Canada.
Summary for Lay Audience
This thesis looks at the Indigenous land claims settlement process in Canada and its implications for reconciliation between Indigenous nations and the Government of Canada. It incorporates Indigenous methodologies and Western research models to argue that land claim settlements do not indicate reconciliation of the Indigenous-Canadian relationship. The land claim settlement process, also known as the modern treaty process is a new iteration of past colonial policies and institutions. By examining the history of the colonial relationship between Indigenous nations and the Government of Canada, including looking at historical and modern documents and legal studies, it looks at the importance of Aboriginal rights and title as well as Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood in the land claims process. It looks at the 2015 Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a means of promoting reconciliation, as well as the ways in which the TRC did not manage to offer recommendations for resolving land claims in the spirit of meaningful reconciliation within Canada. This thesis concludes that there is a need for an international system to settle land claim between Indigenous nations and the Government of Canada.
Spear Chief-Morris, Joy S., "Indigenous Land Claims and Reconciliation: The Importance of Land and Relationship Between Indigenous Nations and the Government of Canada" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7390.