• Indigenous-crown relations in Canada and the Yukon: the Peel Watershed case, 2017

      Baranik, Lauren Alexandra; Ehrlander, Mary F.; McCartney, Leslie; Castillo, Victoria; Hirsch, Alexander (2019-08)
      The history of Indigenous-Crown relations in Canada has varied regionally and temporally. With the Constitution Act of 1982, however, Canada entered a new era. Section 35 of the Constitution recognized Indigenous treaty and land rights, and the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently interpreted this section liberally in favor of Canada's Indigenous Peoples. The Court has upheld the honour of the Crown in emphasizing the national and subnational governments' duty to consult diligently when engaging in development on the traditional territories of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit. The "citizens-plus" model of asserting and protecting Indigenous rights, first coined in the Hawthorn Report of 1966, has proved effective in these court cases, most recently in the Yukon's Peel Watershed case from 2014 to 2017. Yet, engaging with the state to pursue and to invoke treaty rights has forced socioeconomic and political changes among Yukon First Nations that some scholars have argued are harmful to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of Indigenous communities, mainly through alienation from their homelands. The Peel Watershed case demonstrates the unique historical development of Yukon First Nations rights and the costs and benefits of treaty negotiations and asserting Indigenous rights.