The Dynamics of Native Politics
192 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Feb 1998
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Release Date:01 Feb 1998
Release Date:01 Feb 1998

The Dynamics of Native Politics

The Alberta Metis Experience

UBC Press, Purich Publishing

Historically, Aboriginal people have had little influence on the development of Native policy from within government. As a result, national, provincial, and regional Native political organizations have developed to lobby government on Native peoples issues. Joe Sawchuk defines the various native groups in Canada and examines the origins of the organizations which represent them. He examines the structure of the organizations, their relationship with government, and the way in which power is consolidated within the organizations themselves.

Many non-Native structures pervade Native, and especially Metis, political organizations. Using examples from his experience as director of land claims for the Metis Association of Alberta in the early 1980's, Sawchuk illustrates how Aboriginal organizations set their political agendas, and how federal and provincial funding and internal politics influence those agendas. The record of Native political organizations in Canada has been impressive. The questions now are how their structures affect their ability to represent an Aboriginal point of view, whether government funding blunts their effectiveness, and how decreases in funding might affect them in the future.

Sawchuk displays an obvious expertise in his subject, and his book contains breathtaking detail regarding the genesis and maintenance of Alberta Métis organizations. Chris Andersen, Great Plains Research, Vol. 10, No. 1
The Métis land claims are now coming into their own and Professor Sawchuk gives us a quick overview as to matters we must understand in order to deal with the same. Ronald MacIsaac, The Verdict
This is not a book for recreational reading. But if you would like to get a picture of the native political organizations and their complex relationships with provincial and federal governments, this is a good book to start with. The Prairie Messenger
Joe Sawchuk is an anthropologist. He has worked as a consultant for various Aboriginal organizations and has taught anthropology at the University of Toronto and at Memorial University. He currently teaches Native Studies at Brandon University. He is the author of The Metis of Manitoba: Reformulation of an Ethnic Identity, co-author of Metis Land Rights in Alberta: A Political History, and has written numerous articles.


1. Classification of Nativeness in Canada
Status Indians
Non-Status Indians
The Process of Ethno-Aboriginality

2. Native Political Organizations in Canada
A Listing of Native Organizations
The Structure of Native Organizations
An Analysis of Native Organizations

3. The Metis Association of Alberta
Early Metis Political Organizations in Alberta
The Beginnings of the Metis Association of Alberta
The Supplanting of the Metis Association of Alberta
A Period of Revitalization
The Advent of Government Funding
The Federation of Metis Settlements
The Metis Association of Alberta
The Metis Nation of Alberta

4. Native Organizations and the Federal Government
The Source of Federal Indian Policy
Nation to Nation or Client to Patron?
Native Organizations and Federal Funding
Reciprocity in the Patron-Client Relationship
The Pervasiveness of the Patron-Client Relationship

5. Native Organizations and Provincial Governments
Sources of Provincial Indian Policies
Alberta's Indian Policy
Implications of Provincial Funding
Partisan Politics and Tutelage
Land Claims
Natural Resources
Federal and Provincial Governments Compared

6. Politics Within the Metis Association of Alberta
The Metis Political Arena
The Importance of Positions
Interorganizational Rivalry
Politicking at the Assembly

7. An Analysis of Power Within the Metis Association of Alberta
A Model of Resource Dependence
Money as Power
Programs as Power
Personnel as Power
Technical Knowledge as Power

8. Rationale for the Existence of Native Organizations
Principles of Organization
Internal Politics
Achieving Political Goals
Where Do We Go From Here?


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