In January 1997 I attended a conference at McGill University convened to consider the long-awaited report of Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Released two months earlier, the five volume, 3,200 page report marked the culmination of a more than five year intensive inquiry into the relationship between Canada and its First Nations—a process begun in the aftermath of the so-called Indian Summer of 1990 when a violent confrontation between police and Mohawk protestors at Oka, Quebec precipitated a 78-day crisis that escalated to the deployment of military units.1 The conference was well attended by academics (mainly specialists in Canadian politics and First Nations’ issues from a range of disciplines), prominent members of the Canadian establishment (a former prime minister among them), and, of course, Aboriginal people (including elders, activists, and other community leaders). Having made my disciplinary “home” in International Relations,2 I might have seemed a little out of place as, to the best of my knowledge, I was the only one from my field in attendance. Indeed, a few of the academics I met did betray some surprise upon learning of my disciplinary affiliation. But I also met Anishnabek, Cree, and Mohawk people, none of whom seemed to give it a second thought.
KeywordsIndigenous People International Relation Aboriginal People Northern Great Plain International Theory
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