UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

From the legalization of politics, to the politics of the archive : examining some of the political effects of Canada’s constitutional patriation on Aboriginal peoples Desjardins, Patrick


This thesis examines some of the effects Canada’s constitutional patriation has had on Aboriginal peoples. In particular, it focuses on the way in which the politics of the archive has mediated the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state since 1982. To this end, while many studies of Canada’s post-1982 political constellation have noted an increasing ‘legalization’ of politics since the adoption of the Constitution Act, 1982, few have studied what legalization’s increasing reliance on archives means for mediating the resulting political relationships. By politics of the archive then, the thesis identifies the Canadian state’s attempt to structure political authority around the presence—or lack—of archival materials and documents. This ‘will to archive’ is identified as operating according to a distinct set of limitations however. Focusing on how these limitations are used, mobilized and exacerbated by the Canadian state reveals the extent to which Canada’s constitutional patriation has favoured the reinforcement of the state’s archival authority in relation to Aboriginal peoples’ claims. Through the use of Social Capital theory the latter portion of the thesis offers a critique of this tendency and ultimately concludes that a renewal of the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state will likely require the development of post-adversarial forms of justice, less structurally dependent on the presence of archives to determine the nature and scope of Aboriginal peoples’ rights to self-determination.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada