Last week, the British Columbia Treaty Commission said federal foot-dragging is getting in the way of signing final agreements with the province's First Nations. But, to my way of thinking, the presumed finality achieved by such agreements has - to an extent - distracted us from achieving real recognition and reconciliation between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.
Our relationship has become bureaucratized and commodified - dominated by discussions about land, power and pieces of paper. And that's unfortunate. Because achieving such recognition and reconciliation requires more than boardroom meetings between aboriginal and non-aboriginal elites.
It requires the province's aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to understand what they need from one another and come together to meet those needs - giving rather than taking. And, on that count, we have a far way to go.
According to the government, just 30 percent of British Columbia have a positive awareness of the diversity and value of First Nations culture. And how do those cultures feel after centuries of abuse and infantilization by non-aboriginals?
But changing all of that isn't something that can be neatly accomplished within a four-year mandate, package for the purposes of a political legacy. Nor is it something that will change with the stroke of a policy pen in Ottawa. Instead, it is something aboriginal and non-aboriginal people must desire - working outside courts and boardrooms to accomplish.