Recognition of the Dene Nation Through Dene Government

Nation, Dene
Publisher:  Project North, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1979  
Pages:  13pp   Price:  Free  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX967

In this paper, the Dene Nation outlines the manner in which a Dene Government can be implemented as a means of self-determination of the Dene within Canada.

Abstract:  In this paper, the Dene Nation outlines the manner in which a Dene Government can be implemented as a means of self-determination of the Dene within Canada. The authors assert their inalienable right to continue as a self-determining people within Canada, and claim "the right of the Dene, as an aboriginal nation which does not choose to assimilate, to set up a system of government based on our traditions." Dene principles encourage government by the people, not merely representation. The right of people to participate in major decision-making would be guaranteed to all residents, regardless of race. Consensus based on collective understanding is the goal of this process. The Dene also demand the right to participate in all Constitutional discussion, ending with the entrenchment of aboriginal nationhood in the new Constitution.

The proposed Dene Government is outlined through a clear division of power with the federal government, but it does not seek status as a province. Some of the powers defined have been traditionally provincial, some federal, and some are special aboriginal rights. In the new design, Education, Health and Welfare, and Natural Resources, would fall into the traditionally provincial grouping; Fisheries and Divorce law belong in the federal grouping; and new powers include relationships with other aboriginal peoples, external jurisdiction, and limits on federal powers. The paper asserts that "The north must be self-governed and soon, but what is of paramount importance is the form which this takes. Historical aboriginal rights must be the cornerstone."

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