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1989-1990 Can. Hum. Rts. Y.B. 3 (1989-1990)
Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian Charter: Interpretive Monopolies, Cultural Differences

handle is hein.journals/canhry1989 and id is 19 raw text is: Aboriginal Peoples
and the Canadian Charter:
Interpretive Monopolies,
Cultural Differences
Mary Ellen TURPEL*

A sensitivity to cultural differences in
human rights analysis is essential for
understanding Aboriginal rights at Cana-
dian law and for analyzing the relation-
ship between Aboriginal peoples and
Confederation. The author suggests that
sensitivity to cultural difference is an
imperative which should inform all levels
of constitutional legal analysis with
respect to Aboriginalpeoples. This imper-
ative may require critical analysis of the
cultural self-image of the Canadian
human rights system, and increased tol-
eration of difference in the political,
social, and legal institutions operating
within the Canadian state. The author
suggests that the Charter and conceptions
of rights at Canadian law can be situated
culturally, arguing that they are by no
means universal or progressive, especially
insofar as they affect Aboriginal peoples.

Dans une analyse des droits de la per-
sonne, la sensibiliti aux diffirences cul-
turelles est essentielle pour comprendre les
peuples autochtones et leurs droits dans
le contexte de la confrderation cana-
dienne. L 'auteure suggbre que cette sen-
sibilit6 aux diff6rences culturelles est un
impratif qui devrait 6clairer toutes les
facettes de l'analyse constitutionnelle des
droits des peuples autochtones.
Cet impiratif requiert une analyse cri-
tique du systme canadien des droits de
la personne, lequel reflte trs imparfai-
tement les valeurs autochtones, et une
tolerance accrue des institutions poli-
tiques, sociales, et ligales de l'ftat cana-
dien t l'gard des differences culturelles.
L'auteure soutient que la Charte et les
conceptions des droits vhicul~es en droit
canadien doivent etre adapties aux dif-
firences culturelles; elle allkgue que ces
droits n'ontpas une signification univer-
selle etprogressive en ce qui concerne les
peuples autochtones.

* Professor, Dalhousie Law School. There are several people who have shared with me
the ideas expressed in this paper in various discussions and collective projects and to whom
I am very thankful-these are three First Nations women, Marlyn Kane, Sylvia Maracle and
Patricia Monture; and my colleagues at Dalhousie Law School, Wade MacLauchlan, Dianne
Pothier, and Bruce Wildsmith; and, last but probably most, Mark Austin. I would like to acknowl-
edge the assistance of the Human Rights Law Fund of the Department of Justice (Canada) in
the preparation of this paper.

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