First occupants: the erosion of indigenous sovereignty through legal narratives
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 18:17 by Taylor MacLean
Land claim cases within Canada have yielded mostly small wins for Indigenous nations. While certain cases represent success in reinstating rights to cultural practices, granting certain levels of autonomy, and acknowledging rights to land use for culturally relevant activities, overriding sovereignty rests with Canada. Even land claim cases deemed successful are still adjudicated within the Canadian court system, and it is the nation-state of Canada that determines the validity of Indigenous claims to traditional territories. In this paper, I explore the discursive and narrative devices utilized within judicial rulings that uphold Crown sovereignty and deny Indigenous sovereignty. I argue that Indigenous sovereignty is undermined in legal discourse through the use of concealed narrative acts, which serve to sterilize racialized legal doctrines and distort the social and political history of relations between Indigenous nations and the Crown.