Indigenous sovereignty

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Indigenous sovereignty "consists of spiritual ways, culture, language, social and legal systems, political structures, and inherent relationships with lands and waters" that "exist through Indigenous peoples regardless of what a colonial state does or does not do and "arises from each community's Indigenous Traditional Knowledge." -Indigenous Environmental Network [1]

Indigenous sovereignty is recognized by the Canadian government; that both Canada and Indigenous Peoples maintain their own sovereign states. "Sovereign states indicate that they are two separate governing states residing on the same land." [2]

Idle No More is an Indigenous-led movement that calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution which honours and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty and protects the land, water, and sky; it is the resistance of Indigenous peoples in response to ongoing settler colonialism. - Idle No More [3]

What does sovereignty mean to Indigenous Peoples? [4]


  • International Law says that Nation states must not interfere with the internal affairs of other Nation States (such as Indigenous Nations). To do so would be a violation of recognized sovereignty.
  • The Two-Row Wampum covenant demonstrates the principle of non-interference and mutual respect being foundational of every Treaty signed between European (or Canadian) and Indigenous Nations.

Land back

  •  "What must be reconciled is the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty with the pre-contact sovereignty of Indigenous Nations." -Stephen John Ford
  • Reconciling and reparations, therefore, must include a redistribution of wealth, land and jurisdictional power within the Settler State.

Asserting Indigenous ways of life

  • Asserting sovereignty can be as simple as exercising an Indigenous right, such as hunting, fishing or gathering.

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