Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Professor Olivier Bercault

Second Advisor

Professor Dana Zartner



For centuries, the Indigenous Peoples in Canada (CIP) were subject to historical injustice; injustice that was originated in enacted laws. However, there is a huge progress in recognizing IPs rights in the last decades since the C. Supreme Court Rule in 1973. As a result, recent treaties guarantee more rights to IPs; a step to the final goal of sustainable conciliation.

However, there is a need to investigate the diverse stands of Canadian IPs activists (CIPA) towards treaties; accepting or denouncing the treaties. It is crucial to discuss the points of diverse between both stands in order to spot probable points of improvement in future treaties to achieve the goal of sustainable conciliation in the Canadian Indigenous context. In order for the desired conciliation to be comprehensive, there is a need to stress on the importance of viewing IPs rights by two lenses; a collective lens and an individual lens. While maintaining the IPs rights on the collective level is stressed on in every discussion, there is a need to stress on the maintenance of the right of every IP individually in accepting or rejecting the treaties.

Given the lack of comparison studies that detect and compare diverse stands of Canadian IPs activists towards treaties, this study will aim to identify and justify the diversity of those views and stands. In order to fulfill the aim of the study, this research will try to answer the following two questions:

1- What are Indigenous activists' stand(s) towards the treaties signed between the Canadian government and Indigenous tribes? 2- How could future treaties better respond to the conserves of the activists and advocates that reject those treaties?

The CIP problem began when the power balance changed to be against them. CIP has experienced a long history of violating their cultural and Land rights. Fortunately, the Canadian Political and Juridical body had shifted towards recognizing IP rights. There is a firm official approach toward a sustainable reconciliation. Consequently, an ongoing negotiating process in Canada is relevant to IP rights. More treaties are signed, and increasing progress in CIP rights is achieved, thanks to the implementation of these Modern Treaties. However, while some CIPA support the negotiation process, other CIPA condemn it and its outcomes. The study takes the side of CIPA view who support negotiating CIP rights. The research detects chronically the development of Colonial-CIP file in Canada from the first contacts between CIP and new settlers beginning till the recent time, highlighting each parties’ views to the world and to the “others”, and the progressive change in the Canadian authorities views relevant to CIP Rights since 1973. The research values the engagement in reconciliation talks and initiatives, warning of the fatal consequences of adopting an extremist view that denounces negotiating IP rights with the Canadian Government and concerned stakeholders.

Moreover, the investigation stresses the roles the Canadian Government should play on the path of sustainable Reconciliation and supporting the moderate views. The study predicts that achieving tangible improvement in CIP aspects of life on both the individual and collective scale would enhance the stand of the CIPA supporting the negotiation. Furthermore, the study anticipates that the gap will narrow over time between the diverse stands of CIPA. The researcher anticipates that some CIPA who reject the Treaties or Negotiation would change their stands from the current treaties in the long run, thanks to the implementation of the following points:

1- Consistent positive behavior of the Canadian Government.

2- Progress in the socio-economic development of the Indigenous communities.

3- Maintaining a continuous dialogue between all parties on both public and official levels.

4 – The growing awareness of the need to recognize the rights of all relevant parties in the Canadian IP issue.