DISCOURSE AND DISEMPOWERMENT: EXAMINING INDIGENOUS CONSULTATION POLICY IN NOVA SCOTIA
This research focuses on the duty to consult as exercised currently in Nova Scotia, to explore whether or not government discourses of reconciliation have led to formal policy changes, which recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples as separate nations. The research conducts a historical-discursive institutional analysis to examine the legislative relationship between Indigenous peoples and colonial governments. The analysis shows that institutions, and the dominant ideas of Indigenous peoples which influenced them, developed alongside the priorities of the settler-state. Racist, paternalistic, and assimilatory discourses have worked to justify government policies which deny the sovereignty and rights of Indigenous peoples, as dictated by the historic treaties signed between Indigenous peoples and the Crown. While consultation is recognized by the provincial government in theory, in practice, colonial discourses from Canada’s past undermine the possibility for meaningful consultation and ultimately, reconciliation.