SHIFTING INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL: CHANGING INDIGENOUS POLICY GOALS THROUGH MÉTIS AND FIRST NATIONS IDENTITY ASSERTIONS
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The late 20th and 21st centuries witnessed the mobilization of Indigenous peoples who have engaged with the federal government to assert identity-based rights and title to land in Canada. Indigenous political engagement with the federal government on behalf of the Crown is built upon a colonial model that protects the interests of non-Indigenous peoples and colonial knowledge systems. By asserting identity through collectives and expanding the definition of who is considered to be Indigenous and is entitlement rights, Indigenous peoples have eroded the federal government’s control of Indigenous identity. This dissertation demonstrates the institutional and policy impact that Indigenous peoples create through legal challenges and negotiations, leading to a third order paradigm shift in policy and institutional change. Previous research paid limited attention to the motivations for Indigenous engagement and to the process by which Indigenous ideas have affected policy outcomes. Positioning Indigenous motivation, and Indigenous ideas as central to the collection and analysis of data, this thesis poses the question "How do Indigenous assertions of identity demonstrate efforts to control or change policy development in Canada?" The question is addressed using participant observation in a longitudinal study of Indigenous-Crown engagement combined with Indigenous methods of reflexivity. The research explores the topic to reveal the story and results of the engagement. Using the policy theory of historical institutionalism, as well as Peter Hall’s framework of three levels of change and social policy learning, this thesis analyzes three case studies to illustrate Indigenous policy change: the Mi’kmaq peoples of Newfoundland, Métis and non-status First Nations, and the Algonquin of Ontario. I argue that although Hall’s framework is an appropriate starting point for building an Indigenous model of institutional change, although paradigmatic (third order) change as posited by Hall does not precisely fit the pattern of Indigenous-led change. This research contributes to the understanding of institutional and policy change in Canada by providing insight into worldviews essential to understanding Indigenous policy and institutional changes and by demonstrating the source of the desire for engagement.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentJohnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
CommitteeBeatty, Bonita; Dupeyron, Bruno; Boyer, Yvonne; Beland, Daniel; Mou, Haizhen
Copyright DateSeptember 2020