Beyond Crown Sovereignty: A doctrinal and critical comparison of Canadian and Anishinaabe political ontologies

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Courchene, Ashley




In employing a doctrinal analysis of foundational cases that define Aboriginal and treaty rights under s.35 of the Canadian constitution, this thesis illustrates how the Canadian judiciary disregards the legal properties within Indigenous oral traditions to uphold the legal fictions of Crown sovereignty in what I label a 'juridical logic of elimination'. This leads to the question: why are the narratives that inform the concept of sovereignty within the common law tradition taken as a legitimate source of law whereas Indigenous peoples' stories are not? One answer is found in elucidating the secularized elements of theological absolutism and universality embedded in Eurocentric political discourses that conceptualized sovereignty as the only condition of possibility and intelligibility. However, a critical comparison of European and Anishinaabe political ontologies shows that political power need not follow the same trajectory as the 'modern state' but can be developed through alternative modes of knowing and being.


Native American Studies
Political Science




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Legal Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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