This Essay seeks to identify the conflict that exists between the demands for self-governance by Canada's First Nations and the interests of the Canadian state. The author elucidates this conflict by identifying two major differences between the perspectives of Canada's First Nations' demands for self-governance and the interests of the Canadian state: the privileging of the collective versus the privileging of the individual, and the two very different notions of "territory." The author concludes that the doctrine of sovereign statehood as developed out of European Nationalism stands as an obstacle to the self-determination of non-western peoples such as the First Nations because it requires the people within the territory of the state to have no allegiance apart from the state. Yet the author concludes that it is precisely this doctrine of sovereignty that may lead to some possibility for reconciliation. International organizations, created in the post-war era in response to the realization that global problems need global administration, offer a model, in that they have international administrative jurisdictions directly in contravention of the territorial sovereignty of states. The author argues that territory is no longer necessarily the characteristic of a political entity in the international arena, and therefore it is possible to imagine the recognition of stateless nations as subjects of international law.
Suzan D. Balz,
A Country Within a Country: Redrawing Borders on the Post-Colonial Sovereign State,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol2/iss2/9