Natives and Settlers, Now and Then: Historical Issues and Current Perspectives on Treaties and Land Claims in Canada.
Contains Bibliography, Index
David Mardiros is a lawyer and anthropological consultant in Kars,
This series of essays originally written for a conference at the University of Alberta, brings together a variety of opinions on whether Canada and other settler nations have really come to grips with their colonial pasts. Several of the contributions focus on the differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal views on the treaty process and how Canadian courts have been unwilling or unable to understand the perspectives or interests of the indigenous peoples with whom the settler populations concluded treaty relationships. Harold Cardinal, Patricia Seed, and Sharon Venne bring a variety of perspectives to bear in looking at this legal and cultural disconnect. They elaborate on a number of ways in which this has affected indigenous peoples in a number of settings.
In his introduction, Paul W. DePasquale discusses present-day Winnipeg, a city that, despite its large Aboriginal population, continues to present stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes toward indigenous people in its public discourse. As DePasquale demonstrates, much of this stems from a profound and continuing ignorance of Aboriginal people’s history and culture despite the years of litigation and conflict over land rights and access to resources.
Tough and McGregor present a fascinating study of Métis scrip. Although the role of scrip in dispossessing Aboriginal peoples from their land is well-known, the authors present some preliminary hypotheses of how the land transfer process may have been subject to widespread fraud and may raise questions about the honour of the Crown and whether Métis interests in the land can, in fact, be said to have been extinguished.
While the overall tone of the book cannot be said to be optimistic about future developments, it will be of interest to those looking to move beyond the existing paradigms that stem from the colonial era.