By Curtis Cook, Juan Lindau
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Additional resources for Aboriginal Rights and Self-Government. The Canadian and Mexican Experience in North American Perspective
We get some surprises. Canada and the United States have much in common, of course, reflecting their common colonial experience. But they also have differentiating core values that appear in their assessments of the community and the individual. That is, Canada, owing to Tory influence, places more emphasis on the community while the United States gives priority to the individual. One would expect, taking these core values alone into account, that Indian policy in Canada would be more tolerant of Indian communities and respectful of their culture.
The characteristics of the invasions, taking of territories, usurpation of governments and cultures, and strategies of internal colonialism have varied considerably. The ways in which Aboriginal peoples have suffered and resisted extermination, marginalisation, and assimilation; preserved elements of self-rule, languages, and cultures; and fought for freedom are also 40 Overview various. 2 To understand these differences, there is no alternative to specific historical studies, and one can only hope that a discipline of the comparative politics of the Aboriginal peoples of the Americas will soon be established to carry out and coordinate these indispensable studies.
The visions of different Aboriginal peoples of a just relationship with Canadians are also diverse and in a continuous process of reinterpretation. My sketch of two major types of relationship and of arguments for one of them is not comprehensive or definitive. It constitutes an opening and fallible attempt to articulate an intermediate description that is not too dissimilar to the ways many Aboriginal people express their relationship with Canadians, on the one hand, yet that is understandable to non-Aboriginal readers on the other.