Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

May 1996


Published in Great Plains Research 6:1 (Spring 1996). Copyright © 1996 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


In their chapter in Anthropology, Public Policy, and Natives Peoples in Canada, John O'Neil et al. state that anthropology "has affected policy development in virtually every sector of northern community life except medicine" (p. 216). Despite this observation, the book generally tends to stress Canadian anthropology's overall difficulties in aboriginal policy-making. It examines some of anthropology's most sensitive and difficult issues in this area critically, suggesting an ambivalent relationship towards the policy-making process.

The book's focus on anthropology's problems in contributing to aboriginal public policy is established in the editors' introduction, which examines several sources of these difficulties. A brief overview is also given of Canadian anthropology's historic involvement in aboriginal policy-making, followed by a review of the modern period, beginning in the 1970s with anthropologists' involvement in the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and the James Bay Agreement.