Treaty 2 - August 21, 1871

The Inherent Right of Self-Government is a Section 35 Right

November 15, 2018

The Government of Canada recognizes the inherent right of self-government as an existing right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory agree, making it clear that the right is not created by the Constitution, but is implicitly recognized by it.

The Government of Canada recognizes, as well, that the inherent right may find expression in treaties, and in the context of the Crown’s relationship with treaty First Nations. First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory would express the concept by saying that the Treaty itself is an expression of the inherent right, and concurs that it is a vital element in the context of the Crown’s Relationship with the Nation.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the inherent right is based on the view that the First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory have the right to govern themselves in relation to matters that are internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages and institutions, and with respect to their special relationship to their land and their resources. First Nations in Treaty2 Territory would not agree if the statement is intended to be a limitation, but sees opportunity for the two Governments to work together in many ways pursuant to Treaty 2.

The Government of Canada acknowledges that the inherent right of self-government may be enforceable through the courts. First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory agree, but join with Canada concluding that litigation over the inherent right would be lengthy, costly and would tend to foster conflict.

Further, First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory join with the Government of Canada in being convinced that litigation should be a last resort. Dialogue and negotiations among the governments are clearly preferable as the most practical and effective way to implement the inherent right of self-government.

May it be concluded that the Government of Canada should see no problem is seeing the Inherent Right of Self-Government as being confirmed in s. 35 of the Constitution of Canada, 1982?

Last modified: November 15, 2018

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