Despite recent claims by Saul (2008) that Canada’s federal and provincial systems of government, including its justice systems, have been strongly influenced by Aboriginal peoples, this article advances that any infl uence has been largely coincidental. A detailed critical appraisal of Saul’s work reveals a romanticized glossing over of Aboriginal–settler history rather than a detailed engagement with it.
This paper reviews contemporary concepts and practices in Indigenous governance. The purpose is threefold: to outline trends in and ways forward for Indigenous governance; to identify some common yet problematic approaches to Indigenous self-determination; and to discuss the different ways that Indigenous self-determination is defined. The paper serves as a literature review of Indigenous governance specifically in the Canadian context. The ideas discussed are framed within the concepts of democracy, critical Indigenous theory and governance.