Political Scientists, Thomas Flanagan and Roger Townshend explain the key to the big question: “Can a Native State Exist Within a Canadian State?” in the readings: “The Case for Native Sovereignty” and “Native Sovereignty: Does Anyone Really Want an Aboriginal Archipelago?”. The essay will outline and provide evidence to both sides, whether there could or could not exist a Native State in Canada.
The document will argue that Natives are not organized enough to form their own government. Throughout the decades, Natives have agonized many savageries at the hands of the European settlers. The essay will take Flanagan’s side with the belief that Natives should not be sovereign, using the textbooks “Principles of Comparative Politics”, and “Contemporary Political Issues”. According to Weber’s definition of the state, the state is “a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory,” (Clark, Golder, & Golder, pp. 92).
In the reading by Thomas Flanagan, “Native Sovereignty: Does Anyone Really Want an Aboriginal Archipelago?” explains his point of view based on Natives not gaining sovereignty. “Hunting-gathering societies have political processes that assign rank and dominance within communities” (Flanagan, pp. 43), as argued by Flanagan, native's hunting-gathering societies practice out of period political processes. Flanagan claims that Natives cannot have their own structure of government and this is why it wouldn’t make sense for Natives to want a sovereign state.
Natives have a huge variety of people – particularly, there are over 700,000 status Indians, who belong to over 600 Indian bands spread on more than 2,200 reserves. Hundred of thousands Metis and non-status Indians live outside who do not posses reserves. Natives are divided into certain categories; for example, they may classify themselves by language, customs, religion and history. Flanagan suggests that there are many types of Aboriginal people across Canada. Flanagan questions, “How could one create a third order government embracing all Aboriginal people, as the Charlottetown Accord purported to do, when most of these people do not live in defined territories?” (Flanagan, pp. 46).
The only way to generate a nation would be to form an ethnically distinct system of government, no matter where they live. Flanagan states that even if Aboriginals can be sovereign-given, they may work on their individual terms. It would be nearly impossible, for such small group of people to operate an inexperienced system of government, especially in today’s society. Looking at the tribes at the moment, Natives have not yet created enough job opportunities to have their society working, collecting resources to arrange any kind of a government. Natives are spreading throughout Canada, leaving their reserves and building families with typical Canadian. Natives never influenced power historically and their reserves are filled with different bands spread across Canada.
Opposing to Flanagan's politics, Roger Townshend shapes that the Natives should be absolutely given their own sovereign nation. Townshend states at the very beginning “it would be arrogant and ethnocentric to recognize only a European model of political organization as capable of possessing sovereignty” (Townshend, pp. 37). Approving on the point, as Aboriginals were the first Canadian nation. They were the ones who grew up in Canada and took care of the land. He tends to advocate that Canada has a massive landform, which can accommodate Aboriginal people with their stresses of their own land claiming sovereignty over.
The Canadian government wanted to apply the Canadian Indian Policy, which the aboriginals believed was an attempt to integrate into Canadian society. Moreover, Townshend talked about the Canadian “Indian” Policy, a failed treaty that “aimed at assimilating Aboriginal people into Canadian society”, thus displaying that instead of working towards the democratic views of the state and trying to provide the Aboriginals their sovereignty, the state ignored their opinion. This would gradually abolish the Native rituals, religions, languages and traditions.
Non-Native children had been separated from Native schools to regular English schools. They were not allowed to practice their traditions, religions or language. They have been pushed away from their society and that caused physical, sexual and emotional assault. Hunting rights were limited and the environment of Natives and that has been affected by expansion events.
One of the reasons why Aboriginals are in jeopardy is caused by Canadian societies, which are outside their reserves. When they want to participate and interact with non-Natives, they are being suppressed. On the reserves, there is a lack of education and Natives are forced to move from place to place to find a job and live a stable life – something that their reserve cannot provide. In the history of Canada, before the Europeans have arrived to the North America, the Aboriginals struggled with their individual form of government with a steady economy.
Hence the fact, if the country were to allow them to form their own government, they would be able to create and keep their sovereignty. Within past, the Natives became familiar of using the easiest style of society, called a hunter-gatherer society. Using this out-of-date form of civilization they were repetitively considering for new regimes and food. Accordingly, they were being forced to endlessly travel from momentary reserves. Nevertheless, the many efforts made by the Natives to prove that they always were a sovereign nation they dismiss the fact that sovereignty applies to states.
According to the Contemporary Political Issues textbook, sovereignty is “a conceptual property of states that make up the international state system” (Clark, Golder, & Golder, pp. 95). Following to this meaning of sovereignty, after the Europeans settled and took control of Canada, it became impossible to revert back to a sovereign state when they never belonged to one in the first place. By hunting and gathering for their tribes, the Natives never issued a permanent residence thereby neglecting to create a particular territory to control.
Concluding the essay, the Natives cannot possibly have their own single territory, because they are scattered across Canada on plenty reserves with different customs, traditions and practices. Natives live across Canada in many different locations, which causes the fact that they would be unable to form their own frontier. Many of them would not want to move from their original location. Some of them have grown up and raised their children in a particular place or city. This is causing that it would be challenging for Natives to create a sovereign state.
Even though, looking at the fact that Aboriginals were the first people in the Canadian history and it would seem right for them to form a government states, there are still many cons. One of the other issues is that not all Natives live on reserves. Many are married and already have families with non-Native man/woman who live out of the reserve and label themselves non-Aboriginal Canadians. What would happen to all these Natives that live with their new families and not on the reserve?
Not every family would like to move back and start all over again. Many Natives enjoy travelling from one place to another and constantly does it. It may be due to the fact that they are looking for a new job and better money, or just the fact that they don’t like the reserve they are currently staying at – looking for new friendships.
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