Since the BC treaty process was established in 1992, two discourses have become prominent within the treaty negotiations. The first, a discourse of justice, asks how we can remedy the past injustices imposed on BC First Nations. The second, a discourse of certainty, asks whether historical repair can occur in a manner that provides a better future for all British Columbians. Andrew Woolford examines the interplay between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal visions of justice and certainty to determine whether there is a space between the two concepts in which modern treaties can be made. He suggests that greater attention to justice is necessary if we are to initiate a process of reconciliation.
Andrew Woolford is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Manitoba.
This book is destined to become a standard text for university courses dealing with First Nations issues, but, equally important, it should be required reading for politicians, negotiators, and policy makers involved in the B.C. treaty process. Between Justice and Certainty: Treaty Making in British Columbia will inform all those who seek a deeper understanding of why treaty making and reconciliation must begin with facing our history. For as Woolford argues so persuasively, our failure to do this will create neither certainty nor justice in indigenous-settler relations in British Columbia in the twenty-first century.
[T]his argument is very well made. Between Justice and Certainty is strongest in its presentation of a sociology of knowledge and meaning. Woolford’s work clearly demonstrates the profound gulf between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parties at the negotiating table – and that these disjunctures are simultaneously masked and intensified by the very procedures that were designed to bridge these distances.