Crown-Indigenous Relations in Canada: Advancing Reconciliation, Recognizing Rights, and Respecting Indigenous Self-Determination

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences


Diverse Indigenous Peoples have lived in what is now known as Canada for untold millennia. Since at least the early 17th century, they have been living alongside European colonizers, settlers, their descendants, and eventually new Canadians from all over the world. What began as a series of respectful relationships among sovereign peoples developed into a damaging experience of colonialism in Canada, and the echoes of this history resonate through Canadian society today.

Indigenous Peoples have continued to face structural and institutional barriers to achieving equal well-being with other Canadians, and too often encounter roadblocks to having their inherent and treaty rights meaningfully recognized and implemented. However, a legal and policy consensus has been building around a future based on respectful relations between the Crown and self-determining Indigenous Peoples, supported by fair measures for redress and restitution.

In recent years, Canada has turned a corner towards a renewed Crown-Indigenous relationship based on the recognition of Indigenous rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. As Senior Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of affairs related to treaties and Indigenous governance, Joe Wild has a wealth of experience working towards renewed relationships and reconciliation with Indigenous partners through dialogue, negotiations, and collaborative policy development. He will offer an overview of the evolving Crown-Indigenous relationship from early colonial times to the present, with an emphasis on how Canada's shifting approach to addressing Indigenous rights, needs and interests offers all Canadians a chance at a more just, productive and vibrant society.