Undoubtedly Indigenous Peoples in Canada have been horrifically mistreated by all levels of government in Canada since Confederation and well before. Upon reading critiques of First Nations self-government by First Nations themselves, there is a burning question that lies beneath the surface.
Do First Nation have a right to be colonized?
A right is something that is beneficial to a group of people and that is agreed upon by the group of people as governing their moral, legal, and political lives. Then the question becomes, do Indigenous Peoples have the right to have their lives governed by the Indian Act, with the Act serving as the guiding principle behind their moral, legal, and political lives.
And, if the Indian Act is considered a colonialist piece of legislation, then it stands to reason that if the First Nations as a collective agree to have their moral, legal, and political lives governed by the Indian Act, then don’t First Nations have a right to be colonized and governed by the colonial piece of legislation.
While self-governance for First Nations is the optimal choice, many Indigenous leaders have been forced into a state of dependency on the federal government. These Indigenous leaders feel such dependency on the federal government for support of all kinds that they are unwilling to give up the federal government’s ‘protection’.