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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Negotiating space : geographies of the British Columbia treaty process Hyndman, Marian


In this thesis, I examine the silent but powerful role of cartography in the British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) process given the context of the current perception that it is not progressing as hoped. I explore how the requirement for a spatial articulation of each First Nation's traditional territory as a prerequisite to negotiations, coupled with the cartographic method in which First Nations have chosen to meet this requirement, has frustrated the opportunity for agreement later on in the negotiation process by setting the stage for cross-cultural misunderstanding between neighbouring Aboriginal groups and between neighbouring Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups. I also look at how post-colonial literature itself has served to frustrate the treaty negotiation process. I argue that while cartographic theory has assisted in post-colonial analyses, freeing First Nations from the colonial gaze and enabling a modern-day treaty process, post-colonial geography has created a new construct, that of the victim. By focusing on the power relations between the colonizer and the colonized, the postcolonial First Nation is empowered by virtue of its victimization, and not by a culture or history in the area since time immemorial. I further suggest that the victim construct is then protected from critique, in part by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I conclude by suggesting that the future success of First Nations comes from dismantling the victim construct, as some have begun to do, through techniques such as cartographic innovation.

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