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Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights

In Defence of Indigenous Struggles

by (author) Peter Kulchyski

ARP Books
Initial publish date
May 2013
General, Discrimination & Race Relations, Native American Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price

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Aboriginal rights do not belong to the broader category of universal human rights because they are grounded in the particular practices of aboriginal people. So argues Peter Kulchyski in this provocative book from the front lines of indigenous people's struggles to defend their culture from the ongoing conquest of their traditional lands. Kulchyski shows that some differences are more different than others, and he draws a border between bush culture and mall culture, between indigenous people's mode of production and the totalizing push of state-led capitalism.

Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights provides much needed conceptual and historical analysis of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and offers concrete suggestions to transform the current policy paradigm into one that supports and invigorates indigenous cultures in a contemporary context.

About the author

Peter Kulchyski grew up in northern Manitoba and was one of the few non-Aboriginal students to attend a government-run residential high school. He has a PhD from York University and is a senior Canadian scholars in Native Studies. He is the co-editor of In the Words of the Elders: Aboriginal Cultures in Transition and co-author of Tammarniitt [Mistakes]: Inuit Relocation in the Eastern Arctic, which won the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize of the American Society for Ethnohistory. He is the head of the department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.

Peter Kulchyski's profile page

Editorial Reviews

In Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights, Peter Kulchyski argues that resolutions such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples produce a "conceptual confusion" between human rights and Aboriginal rights. Whereas human rights developed in conjunction with the Western state and protect purportedly universal human characteristics, Aboriginal rights originate in Aboriginal Peoples' struggles over land and to protect traditional cultural practices. When the United Nations or Amnesty International fail to distinguish between Aboriginal and human rights, they ignore the concerns of Aboriginal Peoples such as self-determination. The book addresses three distinct features of Aboriginal rights: cultural traditions; struggles with state over land; and rights in practice. - Peter Kulchyski

Other titles by Peter Kulchyski