Poor record on treat­ment

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Re Sin­gling out Gen. Amherst, The Guardian (Au­gust 7):

I’m cu­ri­ous. Does let­ter-writer Earle Lockerby ac­tu­ally know the his­tory of Bri­tish Gen­eral Jef­frey Amherst and his cap­ture of Fort Louisbourg and Mon­treal and his sub­se­quent treat­ment of Canada’s First Peo­ples? I ask be­cause it’s not easy to find out.

I’ve tried. What we do know is that he held an ex­tremely poor view of Canada’s Abo­rig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants and that Amherst can­celled the im­por­tant cer­e­mo­nial tra­di­tion of gift-giv­ing with re­spect to Indige­nous peo­ples.

Se­condly, the prob­lem with his ar­gu­ment about ig­nor­ing Amherst and fo­cus­ing more broadly on im­prov­ing Canada’s treat­ment of First Na­tions is that we have such a poor record on that score to date. We need to get be­yond this con­tin­u­ing colo­nial mind­set.

Can Mr. Lockerby point to some area where sub­stan­tial progress — other than ar­guably at the Supreme Court of Canada level — has been made on break­ing the colo­nial shack­les? Oh, how about the Mill River golf re­sort land dis­pute? Would Mr. Lockerby sup­port the Mi’kmaq claim that it is un­ceded, an­ces­tral ter­ri­tory — and thus be­longs to them?

Peter McKenna, Pro­fes­sor and Chair, De­part­ment of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence, Univer­sity of Prince Ed­ward Is­land

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