Janna Promislow, “Treaties in History and Law”
Negotiated solutions – and in particular, treaties – have long been touted by scholars, policy-makers and political leaders as the best way to resolve outstanding issues between the Crown and aboriginal peoples and to move towards post-colonial relationships. Canadian treaty jurisprudence, however, does not adequately support these ambitions. Part of the problem lies in the historical narrative of treaties that emerges from the law.
This paper explores the relationship between the disciplines of law and history in relation to Canadian treaties and treaty jurisprudence, including indigenous approaches within both fields. It aims to identify points of tension between the disciplines to highlight how treaty narratives are differently constructed – one emphasizing tentative and evolving working relationships (history) and one emphasizing historical completion and resolutions (law). This exploration underpins an argument that to serve the post-colonial “promise” of treaties, treaty jurisprudence must be more coherent with historicist narratives and provide remedies that support the work-in-progress nature of treaty relationships.
To purchase the full article, click the link below