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Rebuilding Indigenous nations through constitutional development: a case study of the Métis in Canada


Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


For the Métis Nation in Canada, self‐government remains the ‘essence of the struggle’ for which their political leader, Louis Riel, sacrificed his life in 1885. As one of Canada's founding peoples, the Métis have sought to reclaim their Indigenous right to self‐government by establishing democratic governance bodies, enhancing their economic capacity and pursuing state recognition of their rights. In addition to these efforts, the Métis have been developing a national constitution, which is anticipated to form the basis of a government to government relationship between the Métis Nation and the Canadian state. Through a case study of the Métis, this article explores the role of contemporary constitution‐building in rebuilding Indigenous nations from within and reclaiming self‐government in settler societies. We conclude that the Métis Nation's pursuit of these goals through constitutionalism will depend on its ability to build legitimacy internally amongst its citizens and externally with state decision‐makers.