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Memoria e Ricerca

Treating History and Policy: the role of Public History in the development of policy for treaties in Canada

di Jean-Pierre Morin
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 37 (2011), p. 115

Since the earliest period of contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans in North America, treaties and agreements have been concluded between them to formalise relations, establish commercial trade and expand settlement lands. For the past 300 years, Aboriginal people and the Canadian government have been struggling to understand each others perspectives and understandings of the meaning, rights and obligations stemming from these agreements. As the Government of Canada works to develop policies to address the claims of Aboriginal people stemming from these treaties, there is a constant need to analyse and assess the countering interpretations of the treaties as well as the different policies and approaches implemented since the creation of Canada in 1867. The role that Public History plays not only helps to prepare the groundwork for these future policies, but also as a way to evaluate the efforts of the past, with the hope of avoiding past failures. Key words: Canada; Aboriginal people; Indian Treaties; Canadian Government Policies; Public History; Relations.