Neo-liberal Glossary used by governments and media to misinform Canadians about Aboriginal Peoples

How to use this Glossary

THE NEXT TIME you read a statement by a politician concerning Aboriginal issues, substitute glossary or lexicon definitions to arrive at their actual, neo-liberal significance.

For example, if the government states that in the interest of equality, Canada should pursue Aboriginal policies with the goals of promoting self-reliance and economic growth, this assertion can be interpreted as:

we refuse to recognize Aboriginal inherent and treaty rights as part of our larger goal of eliminating laws, government programs, services and everything else that does not benefit the wealthy and private sector interests.

Aboriginal self-government (municipal style):
Nice sounding catch-phrase meaning the termination of Aboriginal ownership and jurisdiction over their traditional territories.

Aboriginal self-administration:
Programs and services designed to insure dependence and that Aboriginal peoples will assume responsibility for the perpetual maintenance of their own poverty.

Term used to justify dedicating significant resources to prosecuting Indians. Focused on neutralizing the application of Aboriginal treaty rights and criminalizing attempts by First Nations to become economically independent, such as through commercial fisheries, and limiting their access to natural resources.

Federal government rule by decree over all aspects of Aboriginal Peoples' lives.

Economic Development: A complex system of government laws, policies, programs, subsidies, tax breaks, services and infrastructure development that benefit wealthy individuals and private sector interests.

Extinguishing Aboriginal inherent and Treaty rights. Impediments to Economic Growth: laws, policies and rights designed to protect the disadvantaged and the environment from the avarice of the wealthy. To be dismantled.

Self-reliance: Eliminating or significantly reducing government programs that are not specifically designed to benefit the wealthy and private sector interests. To be applied equally to Natives and non-Natives.


Use this Glossary to deconstruct the following statements:

Nova Scotia is on the leading edge of driving the agenda for aboriginal self-government, Indian Affairs Minister Bob Nault said. "I would describe it as a comprehensive agreement very similar to what we are doing in some of the other provinces where it is not about land, it is not about compensation. It is about jurisdiction, it is about building a First Nations economy." 25 January 2001 -- Canadian Press File

Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault has made some useful proposals to strengthen the democratic process and government efficiency at the band-council level, proposals he says he hopes to introduce as legislation next fall to improve conditions for economic development in aboriginal communities. 22 January 2001 -- The Montreal Gazette

"I will not shy away from my responsibility to take enforcement action to ensure conservation and the peaceful, orderly management of the fishery." -- Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal in a letter to ARC dated 23 October 2000

(This glossary was originally published in the Fall 1996 edition of Solidarité. Send further additions to Shunpiking Online by e-mail at:

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