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UBC Theses and Dissertations

In search of accommodation: responding to aboriginal nationalism in Canada Didluck, David Lucien


Increasingly, nationalist ideals are being applied by large numbers of politically unrecognized or unsatisfied ethnic communities. The appearance of movements demanding ethnic autonomy in a number of different states worldwide has helped to renew scholarly interest in nationalism. Even in Canada, there was a sharp rise in the political acumen and influence of Aboriginal groups. The resurgence of ethnic nationalism has, indeed, become one of the most striking political developments in recent decades. As a result of these events, questions are being raised about how the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian governments and society should be structured. At issue are the challenges that ethnicity and nationalism pose. Yet in spite of a genuine willingness amongst a majority of Canadians to reevaluate their place in Canadian society, Aboriginal nationalist assertions have remained largely understudied by students of nationalism. A new understanding of the roots, goals, and internal particularities of these unique ethnic movements is needed. From a survey of the scholarly literature of nationalism and Aboriginal peoples in , Canada, new conceptualizations of ethnic nationalism must be developed, ones which recognize that not all forms of assertion are destructive and dismembering to the larger political community. If Canadians are to find meaningful ways of accommodating these challenges, then incentives must be found and mechanisms developed to both preserve the wider unity of the state and help facilitate the autonomous development of Aboriginal nationalist communities. Recognizing that there are multiple ways of belonging to Canada and realizing Aboriginal self-government are such forms of accommodation.

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