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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Claims and demands

Claims generally have three goals: to obtain greater autonomy, to have bigger territories and to safeguard aboriginal identity and culture. According to the federal policy established in 1973, there are two forms of claims: comprehensive territorial claims and specific claims. There are also demands that fall into neither one of these categories.

Comprehensive territorial claims

  • These claims are based on the fact that there are aboriginal rights regarding lands and natural resources. The claims are presented in regions where aboriginal titles have never been the subject of treaties or other legal provisions. They are called “comprehensive” due to their vast scope and include elements such as land titles, fishing and trapping rights, financial compensation measures, as well as self-government.

Specific claims

  • Specific claims are claims that deal with the administration of the lands of reserves and other assets of Autochtones bands as well as compliance with the provisions of treaties. Usually, these claims are negotiated only with the Government of Canada, since the provincial governments are rarely affected.


  • Self-government is at the heart of the discussions between the Aboriginal peoples and governments. It is defined as a form of government designed, established and administered by Aboriginal people under the terms of the Canadian Constitution, within the context of negotiations being held with the Government of Canada and, where applicable, with the provincial government concerned.

Other demands

  • Many other subjects have given rise to aboriginal claims. Some of these demands relate to economic, cultural and community development. Others concern in particular, the health and social services, justice and energy sectors.
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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
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Last update : December 2, 2019
Online as if: October 29, 2004