An Aboriginal Perspective on Canada’s Human Rights “Culture”

  • Krista McFadyen University of Alberta


It was a profound achievement for Indigenous peoples to be recognized as peoples with associated rights under international law.  As active contributors in international human rights arenas, Indigenous people have weighed into debates on how to substantiate collective rights while complementing individual rights.  They assert a collective political identity that strives for rights to protect cultures, livelihoods, and governance systems.  However, these achievements at the international level may fall short in impacting lives at the domestic level.  This inquiry is based on a model of human rights socialization to consider whether Canadian attitudes and behaviours, as well as institutions and systems, promote human rights values and norms.  Despite seemingly progressive human rights legislation in Canada, the perceptions and experiences of select Aboriginal people suggest significant barriers to substantiating rights through current institutions and problematizes Canada’s rights “culture.”