Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights

In Defence of Indigenous Struggles
  • ISBN-13: 9781894037761
  • PRICE: $19.95
  • Paperback, 176 pages

Aboriginal rights do not belong to the broader category of universal human rights because they are grounded in the particular practices of aboriginal people. So argues Peter Kulchyski in this provocative book from the front lines of indigenous people’s struggles to defend their culture from the ongoing conquest of their traditional lands. Kulchyski shows that some differences are more different than others, and he draws a border between bush culture and mall culture, between indigenous people’s mode of production and the totalizing push of state-led capitalism.

Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights provides much needed conceptual and historical analysis of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and offers concrete suggestions to transform the current policy paradigm into one that supports and invigorates indigenous cultures in a contemporary context.

Peter Kulchyski

Peter Kulchyski is a leading Canadian Native Studies scholar at the University of Manitoba. He has published numerous books on Aboriginal issues, including Like the Sound of a Drum: Aboriginal Cultural Politics in Denendeh and Nunavut, which won the 2005 Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction.

In Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights, Peter Kulchyski argues that resolutions such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples produce a “conceptual confusion” between human rights and Aboriginal rights. Whereas human rights developed in conjunction with the Western state and protect purportedly universal human characteristics, Aboriginal rights originate in Aboriginal Peoples’ struggles over land and to protect traditional cultural practices. When the United Nations or Amnesty International fail to distinguish between Aboriginal and human rights, they ignore the concerns of Aboriginal Peoples such as self-determination. The book addresses three distinct features of Aboriginal rights: cultural traditions; struggles with state over land; and rights in practice. – Peter Kulchyski