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Reading Response on Aboriginal People
The First Nations People are indigenous to Canada especially along the region south of the Artic. These Aboriginal people were welcoming to the first Europeans seeking to establish colonies across the vast virgin lands. There is a very blurry understanding as to whether the Crown employed unconventional means when associating with the First Nations with the aim of placing them in disadvantaged positions. The article titled, Wampum at Niagara: The Royal Proclamation, Canadian Legal History, and Self-Government by John Borrows detail the relationships between the First Nations people and the immigrant Europeans during the 18th Century (1997). This paper seeks to present an analytical response to the article.
The article purports to present credible evidence based on the Royal Proclamation which is a legally binding document that served as a foundational document determining the interactions of the indigenous First Nation People with other subjects under the authority of the Crown (Borrows, 1997). Borrows has placed much emphasis highlighting that indigenous people were under clear challenges while interacting with the Europeans in the formulation of the Royal document given that they manifested inabilities to read and write. To ensure that the parties to the agreement stood on a uniform pedestal, the author establishes that other avenues were involved such as use of physical symbols, acceptable conduct and speeches when engaging in discussion. The First People did not seek in any way to part with their land but were clearly people of goodwill who did not mind peaceful coexistence with the visitors (Borrows, 1997). From the article, it is clear that the writer supports the overarching notion that the land was rightly owned by the indigenous people.
Borrows work underscores that the First People were adept at engaging in political treatises. However, one cannot help but express concerns on the author’s position that there was great commitment by the leaders of the different indigenous tribes to attend the meeting. For instance, he posits that, “It is also possible that representatives from even further afield participated in the treaty as some records indicate that the Cree and Lakota (Sioux) nations were also present at this event (Borrows, 1997).” Such information is very difficult to substantiate given the expansive territories the Aborigines had to travel to get to the meeting. It is possible that only sections of leaders from indigenous tribes on the northern parts of Canada were privy to the meeting. There is the great possibility that the Crown used all means necessary to ensure that the jurisdiction of the Crown remained vague under the Royal Proclamation in an effort to ensure supremacy over the native populations.
Borrows, J. (1997). Wampum at Niagara: The Royal Proclamation, Canadian legal history, and self-government. Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada: Essays on Law, Equality and Respect for Difference, 155-172.