The Indian Act’s concentration of power

COMMENTARY BY TERRY POUCETTE The distribution of public power in Western parliamentary systems separates into the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The separation of power is intended to act as a check to minimize ability of politicians to use political power for their own interests. Power was also separated in traditional First Nations governance systems. As explained by Aboriginal lawyer, Dan Russell, “Many tribes traditionally exercised checks and balances against the concentration of power in any single function” (2000, p. 100). The First Nations of the prairies were a good example of how power was separated in traditional governance. What was unique about prairie First Nations in the traditional era was that leadership was temporary. There was not a single leader or group of leaders that governed prairie…

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