COMMENTARY: How the Indian Act destroyed democracy

BY TERRY POUCETTE Writer The foundation of western democratic governance is the participation of the people in the political process through representative democracy. Simply stated, citizens elect leaders to represent them in the legislature and make decisions on their behalf. The idea behind representative democracy is that the short time in office will motivate leaders to act in the public’s best interest. Frequent elections, in other words, will keep leaders accountable. Democracy was not a western invention. First Nations practiced democracy long before the arrival of Europeans to North America. The difference was that in traditional First Nations governance, democracy was direct rather than representative. According to Indigenous scholars, what made direct democracy possible in traditional governance was that rule was by consensus. All nation members were given the opportunity…

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