Canada is a country founded on relationships and agreements between Indigenous peoples and newcomers. Although recent court cases have upheld Aboriginal title rights, the cooperative spirit of the treaties is being lost as Canadians engage in endless arguments about First Nations "issues." Each new court decision adds fuel to the debate raging between those who want to see an end to special Aboriginal rights and those who demand a return to Aboriginal sovereignty. Greg Poelzer and Ken Coates breathe new life into these debates by looking at approaches that have failed and succeeded in the past and offering all Canadians -- from policy makers to concerned citizens -- realistic steps forward. Rather than getting bogged down in debates on Aboriginal rights, they highlight Aboriginal success stories and redirect the conversation to a place of common ground. Upholding equality of economic opportunity as a guiding principle, they argue that the road ahead is clear: if all Canadians take up their responsibilities as treaty peoples, Canada will become a leader among treaty nations.
Greg Poelzer has written extensively on Aboriginal and northern issues and is co-author (also with Ken Coates) of Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North, winner of the 2009 Donner Prize. He has worked as an adviser and negotiator for governments, First Nations organizations, and industry and is the founding director and executive chair of the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development at the University of Saskatchewan. Ken S. Coates is the author and editor of over a dozen books on Aboriginal issues, including Best Left as Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon; The Marshall Decision and Native Rights; and A Global History of Indigenous Peoples. Raised in Whitehorse, he is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan. He is a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout Canada and appears regularly on radio and television programs.