In 1763 King George III of Great Britain, victorious in the Seven Years War with France, issued a proclamation to organize the governance of territory newly acquired by the Crown in North America and the Caribbean. The proclamation reserved land west of the Appalachian Mountains for Indians, and required the Crown to purchase Indian land through treaties, negotiated without coercion and in public, before issuing rights to newcomers to use and settle on the land. Marking its 250th anniversary Keeping Promises shows how central the application of the Proclamation is to the many treaties that followed it and the settlement and development of Canada. Promises have been made to Aboriginal peoples in historic treaties from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries in Ontario, the Prairies, and the Mackenzie Valley, and in modern treaties from the 1970s onward, primarily in the North. In this collection, essays by historians, lawyers, treaty negotiators, and Aboriginal leaders explore how and how well these treaties are executed. Addresses by the goverr general of Canada and the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development are also included. In 2003 Aboriginal leaders formed the Land Claims Agreements Coalition to make sure that treaties - building blocks of Canada - are fully implemented. Unique in breadth and scope, Keeping Promises is a testament to the research, advocacy, solidarity, and accomplishments of this coalition and those holding the Crown to its commitments.
Terry Fenge is a consultant with decades of experience in Arctic, environmental, and Aboriginal issues, and co-editor of Northern Lights Against POPs. Jim Aldridge is partner at the Vancouver law firm Aldridge and Rosling and has been counsel to the Nisga'a Nation for over three decades.