christa scholtz on indigenous groups and land claim eligibility in australia and canada
In 1973 Canada instituted a land claims negotiation policy. Records reveal that the government felt reasonably confident that Indian bands, on average, represented defined political actors with whom the federal government could engage in a negotiation policy. By contrast, New Zealand’s Maori claims negotiation policy was soon challenged by the cabinet’s lack of confidence in key aspects of the average Maori negotiating party. New Zealand’s policy response was to require Maori claimants to engage in a group certification process as a precursor to negotiation. Why did one government feel that indigenous claimants were transparent, while the other did not? Through an analysis building on James Scott’s concept of legibility, I examine historical processes of group formalization which led to different average indigenous claimant legibility in Canada and New Zealand. My analysis shows that negotiation policies can be considered an important contemporary process which has important implications for indigenous group life.
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