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Indigenous people’s claims are fundamentally based on the claim to sovereignty.

The central problem to this essay is the status of indigenous population in such countries, as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. All three are the members of the British Commonwealth and despite having substantial autonomy from the Crown are being nominally governed by the Queen. More broadly, the question of the status of indigenous population depends on how indigenous peoples are fitted into the Old World' discourse of civilisation. It will not be wrong to assume that major problems that concern the indigenous peoples of the mentioned countries are connected to such issues, as sovereignty and self-determination.

In the European philosophical and political discourse sovereignty was until lately construed mainly as a geopolitical autonomy. Hence self-determination was also entailed to politics and was unquestionably linked to land possession and self-government. However, as politics began to include individual and cultural aspects, so sovereignty also began to be perceived in terms of cultural autonomy. And even in this case the question of land remains important because on many occasions 'indigenous population' means hunters-gatherers and nomadic tribes (as opposed to sedentary peoples), who are very often pagan. For them, land is not solely an indicator of their sovereign status; it is also the means for existence, as well as the place of religious worship.

Finally, as Ivison observed,

the development of the Indigenous Sector [T. Rowse] shows that self-determination, no less than assimilation, demands a certain kind of acculturation into mainstream institutions and processes. But this doesn't mean that one necessarily collapses into the other--that self-determination has failed and assimilation unavoidable or indeed that assimilation is always wrong. Instead, the value of self-determination has to be judged from the perspective of those it is supposed to empower (Ivison, 2004).

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