Canadian Indigenous people’s right of self-determination and sovereig
By Thomas Guoting Guo
Land claims, self-government and self-determination rights sourced from sovereignty. If a political entity has sovereignty, all other rights are natural born from it; therefore, the Key issues of aboriginal people’s right of self-determination depend on the sovereignty. The first issue is that what is sovereignty? then where the sovereignty come from? and next Who hold the rights of sovereignty? and Can sovereignty divide into different level? other questions such as what relationship between Politics and sovereignty? Did Canada committed genocide?
In this paper I argue that the first nations, in both history and in theory, have the rights of sovereignty of their home land which their ancestors have been living for ten thousand years. However, under the condition of power-politics and face political reality, it is hardly possible for them to fulfil their sovereignty claim. Because to enjoy the territory sovereignty, under power-politics and hegemony culture, nations have to meet some pre-conditions, such as large number of population, strong enough military power, and the capacity to control the territory, defense security and maintain social order effectively. Since lands and natural resources are limited which are all wealthy's foundation, while different states, nations, and ethnics people’s desire for wealthy are unlimited, thus the conflict interests cause disputes and competition amount various states for the limited resources and living space is inevitable, such disputes and competition whether resolve through peaceful or violence way, depend on power-politics rather than on moral principle; when neither agreement nor law available to resolve the conflicts and disputes, the violence and war might inescapable. Under power-politics, or hegemony logic, backward nations always become victims. To justify the "robber policy", Hegemonical states depict indigenous people as "barbarous" even "non-human being”, for slavers are treated as “the tool can speak”. Indigenous people were alleged to be inferior compare with superior white race, and the hegemony culture offer a satisfy excuse to ethnic clean, genocide indigenous people without the purpose to occupy and seize their land.
II. The Conception of sovereignty
Sovereignty is the superior right of a state to handle its external and internal affairs without any third party's intervention. Westphalian sovereignty encapsulates the sacred trinity of territory, national identity and statist political power(Arendt, 2009: 282). In another words the government, territory and population are three foundational elements of the Sovereignty. In this sense, any political entity have sovereignty within their jurisdiction. Before born of state, tribes, nations, and other political institutions must be have the sovereignty within their effectively control territory. Modern society emerge as nation-States, according to state's composition, can be divide into four categories: family-state, nation-state, party-state, and people's state. Therefore, sovereignty can be divided according to various elements, such as absolute sovereignty and relative sovereignty; complete sovereignty and limited sovereignty; territory and political sovereignty or economical and cultural sovereignty; state sovereignty and tribe sovereignty. Tribe is a social group made up of people of the same race, beliefs, customs, language, etc, living in a particular area under the leadership of a chief. Indigenous people's sovereignty seems belong to tribal sovereignty, which is relative, incomplete, limited, part of political, more economic, and full culture. As Bruyneel (2007) described, indigenous peoples’ actions exist in and reproduce a third space of sovereignty to the extent that these actions disrupt and interrupt the hegemonic norm of Westphalian state sovereignty and create space for the inclusion and conduct of autonomous indigenous political life(Montsion 2015:115).Thus, Canadian first nations should have the right of tribal sovereignty, because they never obtain the statehood or recognized by any International organization or foreign States as a state.
In human history, Western Kings hold on sovereignty generally through violent fighting and war to conquer other nation's territory, occationaly through bought, natural increase, donate, or simply occupy the lands not belong to anyone.The winner of war always obtain the enemy's territory as a reward. Under hegemony culture, whoever is stronger and powerful, they can conquar the weaker and seize their lands. Since nobody are willing to be bullied or opporessed by others, and no states are always advanced in technology and millitary power; thus, today's winner not necessary tomorrow's winner. Machitonia conquer Greece, Romen Imperialist proudly standing for 400 years, Islam build their Imperialist empire follow, during 13 and 16 century Mongolian established an state covered Asian and European which is the largest Imperialist empire in the history of the world. then it is Osmantical Imperialist empire, then Turketish empire、、. finally, nations against nations wars develop into World War I and II. All of these extending territory are rely on violence and war. To justify the sovereignty, ruling class create a theory that kings as the God's representative on the earth, to hold on the state sovereignty.
However, In Eastern, a special traditional Chinese culture,which was created by "three Kings and five emperors" during 3000 and 2800 BC, concluded by Confucius in 500 BC and finally polished during 400 years of cruel and bloody wars of "Spring" and "War-states"(700-212 BC), after Qin Dynasty, Chinese emperors to extend their territory mainly rely on voluntary cultural asimilation, which called " Wang Dao"(in Confuciousism means ruling country and extending territory through voluntary cultural asimilation rather than violence or forced asimilation), despite few emperor also believe the Hegemony culture(In Chinese term called the "Ba Dao"). China origin from a small tribel of " Xunyan" In the center of China, develop into a huge country 5000 years later, although China as a state there were few times divided and seperated, twice conquared by foreign states, first by Mongolia in 13 century, and second by Qing in 17 to earily 20 century. But since 221 BC to date, China never rely on violence to conquar any other small weaker states around its boundary, but through voluntary cultural asimilation, extending its territory to one of the biggest country in the world. In China the Emperor was called "the Son of Heavan". In 1700 BC West-Zhou dynasty, King Wen was described as "the favouring appointment was from Heaven, giving the throne to our King Wen"(Chinese Classic The Book Poetry P.435). That is Chinese emperors are appointed by the Heavan or Dao, equal as Western term as the God.
Thus, both in Western and China the sovereignty of Kingdom exist long time ago, which come from the divine supernature power. However, Extending territory in Western mainly according to the hegemony culture, accompany with either genocide or forced asimilation, while in China mainly rely upon cooperate harmony culture, which is voluntary cultural asimilation. Under such political arrangement, the sovereignty, in essence, belong to the Kings and Emperors, that is, within Kingdom’s effective jurisdiction, all territory and natural source belong to King and Emperor while all population are the subjects and servants of the King and Emperor. After Renaissance, Martin Lude's religious reform, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes's political theory of social contact emerge, the Enlightenment, and political and culture of the nation state develop into a new stage, the state sovereignty shift from kings to the people.
The idea of sovereignty seems appear much earily. For example, In Chinese Book of Poetry (1100 BC) which said that "Under the wide heaven, all is the king’s land. Within the sea boundaries of the land, all are the king’s servants" (James Legge, The Chinese Classics The Book of Poetry Vol five, Hong Kong University press 1960. p.360). It shows that over three thousand years ago, Chinese politics already has the idea of state sovereignty. In fact, sovereignty conception is the product of nation-state and colonialism, which was invented by Western political philosopher to justify colony policy; at the same time, International law were created by legal scholars to legalized West European states to claim new territory as their crown land. However, such theory is power politics base on hegemonism, back by the social Darwinism, in essence, it is only a kind of robber logic product. Advance in civilization not necessary means that superior in morality. Civilized European white committed horrible holocaust to eliminate aboriginal people, proved that their moral is inferior. According to western conception, only states have the rights to hold on sovereignty. If a tribal or a nation’s political institution did not develop into the stage of state, or their government or culture or science technology are backward, or their race are inferior, than large or stronger state has the rights to conquer them and seize their land, ethnic clean and genocide all become legalized.