Indigenous peoples’ rights in Chile and Canada : a comparative study


University of British Columbia

Date Issued


Document Type



Master of Laws - LLM




This thesis analyses the past and present realities of the rights of Indigenous peoples in Chile and Canada from a comparative perspective. In Chapter I, the author explains the international human rights and Indigenous peoples' law that provide the theoretical framework behind this study. The political and territorial rights that different international forums have acknowledged to these peoples in recent years are identified. The methodology used in the elaboration of this study, which includes the analysis of documentary data, the case study and the interview methods, is explained. The author describes the objective of this study, characterizing it as applied social research aimed at providing information that can be useful for the transformation process in which the peoples that are subject of this study are involved. In Chapters II and III, the author analyses the rights of Indigenous peoples in Chile and Canada respectively from pre-contact until today. The central aspects of their pre-contact cultures and organizations are described. The author also describes main characteristics of the relationships that were established with Indigenous peoples by the Spanish in Chile and by the French and the English in Canada, and later by the states in the two contexts. Special importance is given to those changes recently introduced in the Indigenous-state relationship in both contexts, focusing on their implications for these peoples' rights. In Chapter IV, the author attempts to expand upon the past and present situation of the Indigenous peoples who live in what is now Canada and Chile by including a case study related to each context: the Pehuenche people of the Alto Bio Bio in Chile and the Nisga'a people of the Nass Valley in Canada. In the last Chapter of this thesis (V) the author concludes that, notwithstanding the changes introduced in recent years in the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Chilean and Canadian states, many and significant problems still impede their ability to enjoy the rights they claim. The author acknowledges, nevertheless, that Indigenous peoples in Canada, through different means, including negotiation and litigation, have achieved a much broader recognition of their political and territorial rights today than have the Indigenous peoples in Chile. The legal, political, cultural and economic factors that explain these differences are also highlighted in this final Chapter.


Indigenous peoples--Canada--Legal status, laws, etc.; Indigenous peoples--Chile--Legal status, laws, etc.; Indigenous peoples--Canada--Government relations

Geographic Location

Canada; Chile

Date Available



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