How Settler Constitutions Can Seek to Affect/Regulate Indigenous Identity:

Canada after 150 years

Public Lecture by Professor Bradford W. Morse Thompson Dean of law at Rivers University and previous Dean of law at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law, University of Waikato.

DATE: Thursday 27th July

TIME: 5.30pm - Pre Lecture Drinks, 6pm - Lecture

VENUE: N.1.03 Law Building - Pre Lecture drinks. MSB.1.37 – Lecture

RSVP: by Monday 24th July 2017

Canada is officially ‘celebrating’ its 150th anniversary on 1 July that reflects the formal proclamation of what was then called the British North America Act, 1867. This statute was negotiated by a group of key leaders in a collection of British ruled colonies located across the border form the United States. The Act had been passed earlier that year by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to create a semi-independent nation in 1867.

Almost no thought was given by this group of white men, which has been continually de-scribed as the “Fathers of Confederation”, to the fact that Indigenous nations had occupied this same territory for 1000s of years.

Furthermore, the westward and northern expansion plan that was envisioned by this Constitution would encompass lands far larg¬er than all of Europe in which almost 100% of the residents were Indigenous.

This presentation will begin in the colonial era where colonies were exercising limited level of executive and legislative power in relation to Indigenous peoples and trace it from the founding constitution through the important amendments that occurred in 1982. The dra¬matic changes in national politics, legislation, and litigation outcomes over the past 35 years will be examined as reflecting a marked con¬trast to the prior 115 years of Canada.

The talk will close with some comments about the continuing human and social leg¬acy of these uses of constitutional power to impact upon Indigenous identities and the far more promising direction in which Canada is now headed. Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand have a long history of learning from each other and I hope that this talk can help contribute to that exchange of creative and valuable ideas as well as insights.