2013: It’s time to commemorate the 1763 Royal Proclamation

This post originally appeared on ActiveHistory.ca.


Royal ProcNDP Leader Thomas Mulcair made a good suggestion last week.  After the Prime Minister publicly outlined the marching orders for his ministers – which did not address recent tensions with First Nations but did emphasize the allocation of funds and resources towards a handful of historical celebrations – Mulcair took him to task. Picking up perhaps on the contradiction of funding historical celebrations while systematically gutting Library and Archives Canada and Parks Canada (two key institutions that preserve Canada’s documentary and material heritage), Mulcair gilled the Prime Minister on his political use of the past. Rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, however, Mulcair suggests that perhaps the Prime Minister expand his commemorative agenda. Why not celebrate the 250th anniversary of the 1763 Royal Proclamation this year?

I agree with Mulcair. The Harper government should embrace the Royal Proclamation. Not only is it a foundational – one might even say constitutional – document in Canada’s legal history, it also provides the Prime Minister with an opportunity to demonstrate his apparent concern for First Nations’ priorities.  The Royal Proclamation has all the trappings of a Harperesque vision of the past. It draws together the military, monarchy and a firm spirit of law and order.

I don’t think Mulcair went far enough in his indictment, however. It’s not just Stephen Harper (and his cabinet) ignoring the Proclamation. It’s all of us. Continue reading “2013: It’s time to commemorate the 1763 Royal Proclamation”

Ten Books to Contextualize #IdleNoMore

This post originally appeared on ActiveHistory.ca and generated a considerable number of additional suggestions.  The original post is worth a visit.

By Andrew Watson and Thomas Peace

After reading comment after uninformed comment, both online and in the media, ActiveHistory.ca decided to compile a short list of books written by historians that address the issues being discussed by the Idle No More movement.  Click on a link below to read a brief summary of the book.

Peggy Blair, Lament for a First Nation
Jarvis Browlie, A Fatherly Eye
Shelagh Grant, Arctic Justice
Cole Harris, Making Native Space
Douglas Harris, Fish, Law and Colonialism
J.R. Miller, Compact, Contract, Covenant
Jocelyn Thorpe, Temagami’s Tangled Wild
Treaty Seven Elders and Tribal Council, The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7
William C. Wicken, Mi’kmaq Treaties on Trial
Michael Witgen, An Infinity of Nations

In addition to these books, we would also like to direct your attention to the Canada in the Making‘s section on “Aboriginals: Treaties & Relations.”  This website provides an overview of the relationship between European empires, the Canadian state and First Nation peoples from the late-fifteenth century to the present. It includes links to online copies of many foundational – and constitutional – documents underpinning Canada’s relationship with First Nation peoples. Continue reading “Ten Books to Contextualize #IdleNoMore”