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Indigenous rights are upheld and challenged at the provincial and local levels as well.Many First Nations have signed land claim agreements with federal and provincial governments.
Read more about Canada’s international human rights treaty obligations (covenants, conventions) and their application to Indigenous issues.In 2008, section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) was finally repealed with the passing of an amendment.The revised legislation means that First Nations individuals who are registered Indians and members of Bands, or individuals residing or working on reserves, can now make complaints of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) relating to decisions or actions arising from, or pursuant to the Indian Act.In general, however, all Indigenous peoples have rights that may include access to ancestral lands and resources, and the right to self-government.In addition to treaties, which are supposed to enshrine certain rights to land, resources and more, federal law also protects Indigenous rights, namely the Canadian Constitution.For many, the concept of Indigenous rights can be summed up as the right to independence through self-determination regarding governance, land, resources and culture.
There is no simple definition of Indigenous rights in Canada because of the diversity among Indigenous peoples.
For example, First Nations that have signed treaties with the federal government may enjoy certain privileges (such as annual cash payments) that non-treaty nations do not.
Similarly, Indigenous nations that have won court cases regarding land claims may exercise more control over their lands and populations than others.
When rights to territory are challenged, relations between these groups become less amicable.
The Oka crisis and Ipperwash crisis are but two instances where provincial and local authorities ignored Indigenous claims to ancestral lands.
It is difficult to make generalizations about definitions of Indigenous rights because of the diversity among First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada.