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Generational Shift: From Oppositional to Cooperative Justice
Justice takes time: the chief of the Sechelt Indian Band measures time in generations.  From a perspective of generational patience, justice for First Nations is proceeding at an adequate pace, especially with a number of factors in their favour: the 1763 Royal Proclamation, the tone and principles of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Supreme Court’s Delgamuukw decision.
The first and second Royal Commission principles for renewed relationship are respect and recognition. They and the Delgamuukw decision’s recognition of the admissibility of oral history reaffirm what had been asserted in the Royal Proclamation 240 years ago: the recognition of Aboriginal self-governing societies. But these attitudes have not always been prevalent, leading to some viable doubt about the possibility of meaningful aboriginal justice in Canada. The BC government refused to recognize aboriginal title upon joining Confederation in 1871  despite the Royal Proclamation 108 years earlier. The Canadian government impeded First Nations’ ability to pursue claims with Indian Act amendments in 1921, an act which affects not only Indians’ political goals, but also contributes—often negatively—to their self-identity.  In 2001 the BC government began their treaty referendum process that pollster Angus Reid called, “one of the most amateurish, one-sided attempts to gauge the public will that I have seen in my professional career”  with vague or double-barreled questions that would allow the government to pursue any policy regardless of how citizens responded to the questions. Since question 5 is worded “Province-wide standards of resource management and environmental protection should continue to apply,”  a yes or a no answer cannot reflect the public’s will regarding the justice of negotiating treaties. An Okanagan white supremacist group that campaigned for the “yes” side also does not bode well for conciliatory attitudes. 
Justice, however, will endure in the long run because public
and political will demonstrate reconciliation, reflecting the second pair
of Royal Commission principles: sharing and responsibility. During the
BC treaty referendum process, a CBC poll indicated that 58% of British
Columbians felt resolving treaty issues was important and 55% of those
who were not undecided were somewhat or strongly opposed to the referendum.
Further, only 11% of those who felt properly informed of the issues voted
yes and merely 2% of those who did not feel properly informed voted yes.
 Even though the provincial government reported “overwhelming support
for the B.C. government’s views”  it is not clear from the referendum
questions what those views are, nor is it clear that they garnered overwhelming
support when less than 40% of the 2 million ballots were even returned.
 Further, the unanimously accepted 1991 Report of the British Columbia
Claims Task Force recommended a new “relationship among the First Nations,
Canada and British Columbia, based on mutual trust, respect and understanding,
through political negotiations,”  reversing the BC government’s adversarial
tone from 120 years earlier. And if a European-based sense of justice is
oppositional, “indigenous communities, to grow institutionally, must develop
cooperative agreements with other governments”  and non-native governments
need to adapt that paradigm for mutual peace and prosperity. And for this
to happen, the Sechelt generational perspective is appropriate.
 Personal interview (November 17, 2003) with Colin Mills, Geography
Professor at Langara College regarding his discussion with the Sechelt
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