Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Canada and the First Nations - Cooperation or Conflict? - Douglas L. Bland - May 2013

Canada and the First Nations - Cooperation or Conflict?
Douglas L. Bland - May 2013 (PDF)
This year, 2013, is the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (pictured on the cover). The Royal Proclamation is widely regarded as having been one of the cardinal steps in the relationship between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in British North America – what eventually became Canada.
A quarter of a millennium later it is our judgment that that relationship has often not been carried out in the hopeful and respectful spirit envisaged by the Royal Proclamation. The result has been that the status of many Aboriginal people in Canada remains a stain on the national conscience. But it is also the case that we face a new set of circumstances in Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations. Indigenous peoples in Canada have, as a result of decades of political, legal,and constitutional activism, acquired unprecedented power and authority. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of natural resources. This emerging authority coincides with the rise of the demand for Canadian natural resources, a demand driven by the increasing integration of the developing world with the global economy, including the massive urbanisation of many developing countries. Their demand for natural resources to fuel their rise is creating unprecedented economic opportunities for countries like Canada that enjoy a significant natural resource endowment.
The Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy project (of which this paper is a part) seeks to attract the attention of policy makers, Aboriginal Canadians, community leaders, opinion leaders, and others to some of the policy challenges that must be overcome if Canadians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, are to realise the full value of the potential of the natural resource economy. This project originated in a meeting called by then CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, Richard Jock, with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mr. Jock threw out a challenge to MLI to help the Aboriginal community, as well as other Canadians, to think through how to make the natural resource economy work in the interests of all. We welcome and acknowledge the tremendous support that has been forthcoming from the AFN, other Aboriginal organisations and leaders, charitable foundations, natural resource companies, and others in support of this project.


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