The BC treaty process was established in 1992 with the aim of resolving the outstanding land claims of First Nations in British Columbia. Two discourses have since become prominent within the treaty negotiations between First Nations and the governments of Canada and British Columbia. The first, a discourse of justice, asks how we can remedy the past injustices imposed on BC First Nations through the removal of their lands and forced assimilation. The second, a discourse of certainty, asks whether historical repair can occur in a manner that provides a better future for all British Columbians.
In Between Justice and Certainty, Andrew Woolford examines the interplay between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal visions of justice and certainty in the first decade of the BC treaty process to determine whether there is a space between the two concepts in which modern treaties can be made.
Using interviews, field research, and both archival and modern treaty documents, Woolford argues that the goal of certainty is overriding the demand for justice, and suggests that greater attention to justice is necessary if we are to initiate a process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia.