Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Keeping Promises: The Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Rights, and Treaties in Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Keeping Promises: The Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Rights, and Treaties in Canada

Article excerpt

Terry Fenge and Jim Aldridge (eds), Keeping Promises: The Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Rights, and Treaties in Canada (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015), 296 pp. Cased. $100. ISBN 978-0-7735-4586-1. Paper. $34.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4587-8.

This book is an edited collection based on a public symposium organised by the Land Claims Agreements Coalition held to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The book includes addresses by the Governor-General of Canada, the Right Honourable David Johnston, leading constitutional scholars, and legal practitioners who deal with negotiating and putting into effect current treaties between Indigenous nations and the Canadian state. It is this unique combination of perspectives that is one of the undeniable strengths of the book. In their introduction to the book, Fenge and Aldridge emphasise that the Royal Proclamation is not a historical artefact to be studied but very much a live document that still influences treaties and relations more broadly between Indigenous groups and the state to this day. They also point out that even though they expect scholars and students to make use of the book, the primary intended audience was the public, and so the book is written in a very clear and readable style. Due to limited space in this review I will focus on one chapter by a constitutional scholar, Brian Slattery, and one by a legal practitioner, Terry Fenge.

Brian Slattery's 'The Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Aboriginal Constitution' quite adroitly outlines the origins of the Royal Proclamation and explores its major features. …

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