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This book describes the encounter between the common law legal system and the tribal peoples of North America and Australasia. It is a history of the role of anglophone law in managing relations between the British settlers and indigenous peoples from colonial foundation to the end of the Twentieth century. The historical basis of relations is described through the enduring, but constantly shifting questions of sovereignty, status and, more recently, self-determination.
In Sovereignty in the Exercise of the Right to Self-Determination Jane Hofbauer explores to what extent (indigenous) peoples can be designated as sovereign entities through the exercise of different tiers of self-determination.
Described as 'ground-breaking' in Kent McNeil's Foreword, this book develops an alternative approach to conventional Aboriginal title doctrine. It explains that aboriginal customary law can be a source of common law title to land in former British colonies, whether they were acquired by settlement or by conquest or cession from another colonising power. The doctrine of Common Law Aboriginal Customary Title provides a coherent approach to the source, content, proof and protection of Aboriginal land rights which overcomes problems arising from the law as currently understood and leads to more just results. The doctrine's applicability in Australia, Canada and South Africa is specifically demonstrated. While the jurisprudential underpinnings for the doctrine are consistent with fundamental common law principles, the author explains that the Australian High Court's decision in Mabo provides a broader basis for the doctrine: a broader basis which is consistent with a re-evaluation of case-law from former British colonies in Africa, as well as from the United States, New Zealand and Canada. In this context, the book proffers a reconceptualisation of the Crown's title to land in former colonies and a reassessment of conventional doctrines, including the doctrine of tenure and the doctrine of continuity. 'With rare exceptions ... the existing literature does not probe as deeply or question fundamental assumptions as thoroughly as Dr Secher does in her research. She goes to the root of the conceptual problems around the legal nature of Indigenous land rights and their vulnerability to extinguishment in the former colonial empire of the Crown. This book is a formidable contribution that I expect will be influential in shifting legal thinking on Indigenous land rights in progressive new directions.' From the Foreword by Professor Kent McNeil (to read the Foreword please click on the 'sample chapter' link).
In New Zealand, as well as in Australia, Canada and other comparable jurisdictions, Indigenous peoples comprise a significantly disproportionate percentage of the prison population. For example, Maori, who comprise 15% of New Zealand’s population, make up 50% of its prisoners. For Maori women, the figure is 60%. These statistics have, moreover, remained more or less the same for at least the past thirty years. With New Zealand as its focus, this book explores how the fact that Indigenous peoples are more likely than any other ethnic group to be apprehended, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated, might be alleviated. Taking seriously the rights to culture and to self-determination contained in the Treaty of Waitangi, in many comparable jurisdictions (including Australia, Canada, the United States of America), and also in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the book make the case for an Indigenous court founded on Indigenous conceptions of proper conduct, punishment, and behavior. More specifically, the book draws on contemporary notions of ‘therapeutic jurisprudence’ and ‘restorative justice’ in order to argue that such a court would offer an effective way to ameliorate the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous peoples.
Aboriginal title represents one of the most remarkable and controversial legal developments in the common law world of the late-twentieth century. Overnight it changed the legal position of indigenous peoples. The common law doctrine gave sudden substance to the tribes' claims to justiciable property rights over their traditional lands, catapulting these up the national agenda and jolting them out of a previous culture of governmental inattention. In a series of breakthrough cases national courts adopted the argument developed first in western Canada, and then New Zealand and Australia by a handful of influential scholars. By the beginning of the millennium the doctrine had spread to Malaysia, Belize, southern Africa and had a profound impact upon the rapid development of international law of indigenous peoples' rights. This book is a history of this doctrine and the explosion of intellectual activity arising from this inrush of legalism into the tribes' relations with the Anglo settler state. The author is one of the key scholars involved from the doctrine's appearance in the early 1980s as an exhortation to the courts, and a figure who has both witnessed and contributed to its acceptance and subsequent pattern of development. He looks critically at the early conceptualisation of the doctrine, its doctrinal elaboration in Canada and Australia - the busiest jurisdictions - through a proprietary paradigm located primarily (and constrictively) inside adjudicative processes. He also considers the issues of inter-disciplinary thought and practice arising from national legal systems' recognition of aboriginal land rights, including the emergent and associated themes of self-determination that surfaced more overtly during the 1990s and after. The doctrine made modern legal history, and it is still making it.
In The Right Relationship, John Borrows and Michael Coyle bring together a group of renowned scholars, both indigenous and non-indigenous, to cast light on the magnitude of the challenges Canadians face in seeking a consensus on the nature of treaty partnership in the twenty-first century.
Exploring the mental worlds of the major groups interacting in a borderland setting, Cynthia Cumfer offers a broad, multiracial intellectual and cultural history of the Tennessee frontier in the Revolutionary and early national periods, leading up to the era of rapid westward expansion and Cherokee removal. Attentive to the complexities of race, gender, class, and spirituality, Cumfer offers a rare glimpse into the cultural logic of Native American, African American, and Euro-American men and women as contact with one another powerfully transformed their ideas about themselves and the territory they came to share. The Tennessee frontier shaped both Cherokee and white assumptions about diplomacy and nationhood. After contact, both groups moved away from local and personal notions about polity to embrace nationhood. Excluded from the nationalization process, slaves revived and modified African and American premises about patronage and community, while free blacks fashioned an African American doctrine of freedom that was both communal and individual. Paying particular attention to the influence of older European concepts of civilization, Cumfer shows how Tennesseans, along with other Americans and Europeans, modified European assumptions to contribute to a discourse about civilization, one both dynamic and destructive, which has profoundly shaped world history.

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