A number of scholars have found that the legal system was 'implicated' in the country's racist past. The key point, however, is not that the law was discriminatory and that racism can be found in its rulings, but that the Canadian legal system is a regime of racial power. The law upheld the rights of nationals over those of Aboriginal peoples time and time again, and in this process, it extended its own legitimacy as the sole 'authorizing authority' within the settler colony. It institutionalized the violence of the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples in their daily encounters with Canadians. Parliament's criminalization in 1927 of Aboriginal peoples who raised money for litigation for their claims to sovereignty without the written consent of the Department of Indian Affairs can certainly be described as racist. However, the very coming into being of a Parliament that claimed the authority to act in this manner, the existence of such a sovereign authority in the context of the ongoing colonization of Aboriginal peoples, reflects the deeply racialized nature of this sovereign power, its politics, and its laws.
-- Sunera Thobani, emphasis in original, references in original
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Posted by Scott Neigh at Wednesday, December 12, 2007