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Aboriginal Societies and the Common LawA History of Sovereignty, Status, and Self-Determination$
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P.G. McHugh

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198252481

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198252481.001.0001

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Aboriginal Societies and International Law: A History of Sovereignty, Status, and Land

Aboriginal Societies and International Law: A History of Sovereignty, Status, and Land

(p.289) 5 Aboriginal Societies and International Law: A History of Sovereignty, Status, and Land
Aboriginal Societies and the Common Law


Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how, after World War II, international and municipal legal systems transformed into a more complex and juridified conception where law increasingly modified and curbed the exercise of settler-state authority over aboriginal peoples. In both the international and municipal systems the legal pattern was one of growing settler-state accountability for its management of aboriginal affairs. At the most general level, these systems witnessed an increasing legal recognition and accommodation of the claims of aboriginal peoples. The applicability of those international norms to some populations in Asia, Africa, and South America remained contentious. However there was never any doubt of their relevance to the aboriginal societies of North America and Australasia. State practice in those jurisdictions was — and to a significant extent remains — an influential factor in the normative development of international law.

Keywords:   aboriginal status, international law, legal history, legal systems, settler-state authority

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