The ethics of indigenous rights

Authored by: Teddy Harrison , Melissa S. Williams

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201279
eBook ISBN: 9781315461731
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter uses the case of Canada to examine the ethical responsibilities of policy-makers towards indigenous peoples, to correct the background injustice of settler-indigenous relations. Past public policy reveals five ideal-type normative orientations towards indigenous people: eliminationism, paternalism, self-government, legalism, and reconciliation. Each has significant limitations. Future policy should be guided by the two forms of respect that the state owes indigenous people: the respect owed to all citizens as free and equal persons, and cross-cultural respect for indigenous people as indigenous. The chapter develops a model of cross-cultural respect based on interpretations of the historic Two-Row Wampum treaty.

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