Book jacket
Aboriginal rights claims and the making and remaking of history


"The forums that were established during the second half of the twentieth century to address Aboriginal land claims have led to a particular way of engaging with and presenting Aboriginal, colonial, and national histories. The history that comes out of these land claim forums is often attacked for being "presentist": interpreting historical actions and actors through the lens of present day values, practices, and concerns. In Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History, a comparative study encompassing five former British colonies (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States), Arthur Ray examines how claims-oriented research is framed by existing Indigenous rights law and claims legislation and how, in turn, it has influenced the development of laws and legislation. Ray also explores the ways in which the procedures and settings for claims adjudication--the courtroom, claims commissions, and the Waitangi Tribunal--have influenced the use of historical evidence, stimulated scholarly debates about the cultural/historical experiences of Indigenous people at the time of European contact and afterward, and have provoked reactions from politicians and scholars. While giving serious consideration to the arguments of presentism and the problems that overly presentist histories can create, Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History provides Aboriginal, academic, and legal communities with an essential perspective on how history is used in the Aboriginal claims process."--Provided by publisher.