Citizens Plus: Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian State

Front Cover
UBC Press, Nov 1, 2011 - Social Science - 288 pages
1 Review

We are in the midst of a fundamental re-evaluation of the desired relation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to each other, and of how the former are to be institutionally and constitutionally accommodated within Canada. Words matter. How we think about where we are and about the future goal of our relationship can confine us in an intellectual prison or liberate us from choices we will otherwise regret.

In Citizens Plus, Alan Cairns unravels the historical record to clarify the current impasse in negotiations between Aboriginal peoples and the state. He considers the assimilationist policy assumptions of the imperial era, examines more recent government initiatives, and analyzes the emergence of the nation-to-nation paradigm given massive support by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

We are battered by contending visions, he argues - a revised assimilation policy that finds its support in the Canadian Alliance Party is countered by the nation-to-nation vision, which frames our future as coexisting solitudes. Citizens Plus stakes out a middle ground with its support for constitutional and institutional arrangements which will simultaneously recognize Aboriginal difference and reinforce a solidarity which binds us together in common citizenship. Essential reading for those in political science, history, Native studies, public administration, and law, Citizens Plus will also appeal to the general public interested in one of the most important and complex issues on our agenda.

Selected as a BC Book for Everybody


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

4 stars is what I give it
Cohersed into reading it, I thought it needed more explosions
Having known it, I loved it
Answers inside
No book rivals it, I must say 


1 Empire
2 Assimilation
3 Choice
4 The Constitutional Vision of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
5 The Choice Revisited

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 17 - Our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian department, that is the whole object of this Bill.
Page 42 - In the 1930s and 1940s the dominant story constructed about Native American culture change saw the present as disorganization, the past as glorious, and the future as assimilation. Now, however, we have a new narrative: the present is viewed as a resistance movement, the past as exploitation, and the future as ethnic resurgence.
Page 17 - the great aim of [such] legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the dominion...

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2011)

Alan C. Cairns is professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia where he was a member of the Department of Political Science from 1960 until his retirement in 1995. He was awarded the 1982 Molson Prize and, in 1998, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on federalism, the constitution, and the charter.

Bibliographic information