Source: (2004) In Catherine Bell and David Kahane, eds, Intercultural Dispute Resolution in Aboriginal Contexts. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Pp. 232-237.

The chapters in this section reflect a cautious optimism regarding the prospects for improved relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal societies in Canada based, in part, on recently negotiated political arrangements obtained through non-adversarial approaches. Drawing variously upon the storehouses of Aboriginal wisdom, Aboriginal and Western legal traditions and the accumulated knowledge from years in the praxis of traditions of intercultural exchanges, these chapters serve to underscore the notable, if limited, advances in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations, while also providing potent reminders of the significant work that lies ahead. Reconciliation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal interests is a recurring theme in these chapters, an objective that includes “reconciling our memories.” As Val Napoleon notes, “it is memory that holds the truth of our experiences – the content of reconciliation – and what we do with out memories determines our capacity to imagine our future.” In their own distinctive ways, these writers call attention to at least three important elements that bear on the development of effective systems for conflict resolution. First, there is attention to what I call the “negotiating posture” of the involved parties. Second, there is consideration of the structural or systemic environment within which political and/or cultural discourse occurs. Finally, there is attention to the substantive content, language, and conventions of this discourse. I will discuss each of these elements briefly as reflected in the preceding chapters. (excerpt)