The price of reconciliation?

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.

2 Comments

Great show yesterday - listening to the podcast now.

Good luck on First Nations reconciliation... it'll take a long, long time and after Premier Stephanie Cadieux in 2033 takes her last bow & bouquets to hand off to Premier Jordan Bateman or Premier Geoff Campbell or (one can only hope) Premier Miriam Polak... there will still be treaties to work on and Sean Holman still burning off MLAs' feet.

If you want resolution then the best solution is to stop paying lawyers on both sides of the bargaining table.

I am sure that over the past 30 years lawyers have billed the Government more in fees to accomplish nothing then they ever would receive in any settlement.

Once the gravy train is removed I am sure that settlements will be forthcoming very quickly.

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