In 1982, after decades of determined mobilization by Aboriginal groups and their allies, the government of Canada formally recognized Aboriginal rights within its Constitution. The move reflected a consensus that states should and could use constitutionally enshrined group rights to protect and accommodate subnational groups within their borders. Decades later, however, almost no one is happy with the current state of Aboriginal rights in Canada, nor is there a consensus on what is wrong with these rights or how they can be fixed. Uncertain Accommodation tells the story of what went wrong.
Dimitrios Panagos argues that the failure of Canada’s Aboriginal rights jurisprudence is ultimately rooted in our inability to agree on what aboriginality means. Through incisive analysis of judicial decisions, legal submissions, and academic debates, he reveals the plurality of conceptions of aboriginality put forth over the past three decades and shows how the vision of Aboriginal identity promoted and protected is that of the Supreme Court of Canada itself. Panagos concludes that there can be no justice as long as the state continues to safeguard a set of values and interests defined by non-Aboriginal people.
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
Dimitrios Panagos is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Memorial University. His research appears in a number of academic journals, including Politics and Gender; Social Sciences Quarterly; Canadian Journal of Political Science; and Commonwealth and Comparative Politics.
This book is highly recommended for professionals, scholars, and graduate students or simply for those interested in understanding how the state handles identity and group-related rights.
~E. Acevedo, California State University, Los Angeles, CHOICE
…Panagos succeeds in giving the intricate and controversial topic of aboriginality thorough treatment in a concise manner. Uncertain Accommodation generates interesting discussion that accommodates all readers, regardless of legal expertise … [This book] adds to the literature byproviding a balanced and sophisticated analysis of where Canadian jurisprudence went wrong regarding the definition of Aboriginal rights, and what can be done to improve the situation.
~Braeden Pivnick, Saskatchewan Law Review