LA NATION, C’EST MOI: THE ENCOUNTER OF QUÉBEC AND ABORIGINAL NATIONALISMS

Julián Castro-Rea

Abstract


Proponents of Québec’s independence justify their goal with the claim that their province is the cradle of one of Canada’s “Founding Nations.” In so doing, they bypass the self-perception of the dominant, politicized Aboriginal peoples, who perceive themselves as forming the “First Nations” of what is now Canada. These contending views, neither of which is yet constitutionally fully recognized, are bound to clash whenever issues of self-government are raised within Québec’s boundaries. Such a situation arose at the time of the 1995 Québec referendum on sovereignty, which was met with adamant opposition from Aboriginal groups, especially the Cree, the Inuit and the Mohawk. In reaction, Québec’s pro-independence government at the time accused Aboriginal peoples of being Ottawa’s instrument, and repeated the debatable argument that Québec has maintained the most respectful policy towards Aboriginal peoples among all Canadian provinces.


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