Sophie Major

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Department:
Energy and Resources Group
Term:
AY19-20

If political theory, in the broadest sense, seeks to assess and offer answers to the question, “how ought we live together?”, the discipline has largely overlooked entire traditions’ and regions’ answers to this question. In particular, political theorists have largely failed to take seriously the diverse and intricate traditions of indigenous political thought. Simultaneously, the Canadian government and public continues to reckon with the country’s colonial past, undertaking projects of healing, reconciliation, and indigenous recognition. Within this disciplinary and regional context, my dissertation research documents a history of political thought for two indigenous groups in Canada, and theoretically and comparatively evaluates their political values and philosophies. These indigenous political theories are also compared with the Euro-Canadian political theories of diversity and multinationalism that inform settler-state relations with indigenous peoples. The research seeks to both understand indigenous political theories on their own terms, and assess their contributions to open debates on indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. Finally, this research makes an important step towards de-colonizing the political theory discipline, while also informing efforts of reconciliation between the settler-state and indigenous peoples of Canada.