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In Search of Common Ground: Reconciling Western-based Governance Principles and First Nations Traditions

Author: Jodi Bruhn

Prompted by the spirit of the new Truth and Reconciliation Commission, soon beginning its work in examining the legacy of the residential school system, this paper seeks to begin to reconcile the governance principles espoused by the Institute On Governance (following the UNDP) with Aboriginal governance traditions. After discussing fundamental elements of governance and good governance (I) it presents the Institute’s five governance principles (II), then probes their origins of the principles in international human rights law, Western political theory and Western historical experience (III). The paper explores some possible First Nations governance principles (IV), suggesting that the two, though distinct, are converging and in fact might complement and correct each other (V). The paper concludes with some thoughts on the requirements of genuine reconciliation.

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