"WE WILL HELP EACH OTHER TO BE GREAT AND GOOD": THE MEMORIAL TO SIR WILFRID LAURIER AND RESOLVING INDIGENOUS-STATE RELATIONS IN CANADA
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This project explores the “Laurier Memorial,” a pivotal document written by Chiefs of the Secwépemc, Nlaka’pamux, and Syilx Nations of interior British Columbia, and presented to Prime Minister Laurier in 1910. With the assistance of Scottish-born ethnologist James Teit, the Memorial is written in lucid first-person narrative, charting the history of relations between these Interior Tribes and settler populations, then putting forward a different vision of relations based in traditional law, reciprocity, obligation, mutual sovereignty and shared jurisdiction. As the document continues to circulate a century later, drawing new relations around it, it provides insight into Indigenous-State relations throughout history and how we might make moves towards resolving them. This work looks at the document’s proposal, its continued relevance and circulation, its nuanced impacts on broader political relations, as well as its impacts on my own political, personal, and research relationships.