Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1993


Published in Great Plains Research 3:1 (February 1993), pp. 114-115. Copyright © 1993 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


This informative collection of eight essays by different authors plus an introduction by the editor surveys the present state of aboriginal land claims across Canada. Each essay deals with a separate province or region, providing regional detail that fleshes out the overview. A selection of excerpts from pertinent documents at the end of each essay adds substantially to the usefulness of the work.

As David R. McNab, formerly of the Native Affairs Secretariat of the Province of Ontario, points out in his article, the aboriginal peoples have never been conquered, so that Canada's acquisition of their lands has been by negotiation. In arriving at these arrangements-once called "treaties" but today called "agreements"-Canada has never strayed from inherited British imperial policy, a "perpetual compromise between principle and immediate exigency." The principle involved has been the official extinguishment of aboriginal title; the exigency has been the need to acquire lands for settlement and industrial development. The process is still far from complete, and the end is not in sight.