Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Natives & Settlers - Now & Then: Historical Issues and Current Perspectives on Treaties and Land Claims in Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Natives & Settlers - Now & Then: Historical Issues and Current Perspectives on Treaties and Land Claims in Canada

Article excerpt

Paul W. DePasquale (ed.), Natives & Settlers - Now & Then: Historical Issues and Current Perspectives on Treaties and Land Claims in Canada (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2007), xxxiii + 119pp. Paper. $39.95. ISBN 978-0-88864-462-6.

This is a collection of five essays based on papers presented at an interdisciplinary conference on treaties and land claims in Canada organised by the Medieval and Early Modern Institute of the University of Alberta in 2000.

Two of those who gave papers were non-academic indigenous Canadians. Their perspectives on the theme do not always conform to the conventions of historical scholarship. References are made to information provided to the two authors by unnamed 'Elders'. The late Harold Cardinal, a member of the Nihiyow (Cree) nation and onetime president of the Indian Association of Alberta, observed in the questions and discussion session of the conference that the Elders' knowledge should be given the same status as that of PhD students. Both devote their lives to studying a particular subject matter. Unfortunately, the Elders' knowledge is not normally the type that can be presented in support of land claims in Canadian courts. Nonetheless Sharon Venne, a Cree lawyer, makes use of the knowledge of her Elders to suggest in her essay that the oral understanding of treaty-making is sharply at variance from that of the Canadian Treaty Commissioner during the negotiation of Treaty Six in 1876.

Patricia Seed's essay is a more conventional comparison of three treaty nations, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand, and the economic and political consequences for their indigenous people. …

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