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Canada’s legal and constitutional framework has been a fundamental element in defining and shaping the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. As the legal framework has evolved, from the Royal Proclamation to Section 35, so too has the nature and expression of modern jurisdictional relationships. This can be seen in the judicial assertion of rights as the primary option, which often leads to lengthy litigation resulting in a legal relationship built on reaction and conflict. While the Constitution and legislation have provided opportunities for advancement, there remain impediments related to the achievement of self-government, cooperation, imagination and political will. Further foundational changes are required to develop new conceptions of jurisdiction under a renewed nation-to-nation relationship built on trust and respect.
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