Developed by Anna Hunter. Revised by Nicole Wegner, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan.
Indigenous self-governance is a topic with many considerations. Self-government stems from a desire for self-determination. For many groups, self-government inherently contains the recognition that Indigenous peoples have a right to sovereignty (expressed in many different ways). This module will discuss the concept of self-government, explore historical forms of Indigenous governance and relate them to modern desires for self-determination, as well as explain different models that Indigenous self-government can take.
Self Test and Answers
Communal Visions of Government: Involve greater control over matters that affect the particular Indigenous nation in question: its culture, identity and collective well-being.
Diversity: A state of having multiple cultures, languages, or other identity markers within a larger group or society.
Iroquois Confederacy: An alliance between various conflicting Iroquois groups that anthropologists suggest was formed sometime between 1400-1600 AD. This alliance contained Mohawk, Onodaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca nations and is considered an Indigenous example of inter-national cooperation in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Potlatch: A ceremonial feast or celebration hosted by an incumbant social leader where lavish gifts were given to guests and social hierarchical practices were reinforced through customary re-tellings of social orders.
Self-Determination: The desire of Indigenous peoples to control their own destiny, their desire for self-reliance and for the accountability of their leadership to their own people and not to the federal, provincial or territorial governments.
Self-Government: Varied institutional forms of Indigenous groups assuming political, economic, or social control over their populations.
Territorial Visions of Government: Involve greater authority over a traditional territory and its inhabitants, whether this territory is exclusive to a particular Indigenous people or shared with others.
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