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The Marshall Decision and Native Rights:
In The Marshall Decision and Native Rights Ken Coates explains the cross-cultural, legal, and political implications of the recent Supreme Court decision on the Donald Marshall case. He describes the events, personalities, and conflicts that brought the Maritimes to the brink of a major confrontation between Mikmaq and the non-Mikmaq fishers in the fall of 1999, detailing the bungling by federal departments and the lack of police preparedness. He shows how political, business, and Mikmaq leaders in the Maritimes handled the volatile situation, urging non-violence and speaking out against racism, in contrast to the way federal and regional leaders have responded in other parts of the country. Legal victories such as Marshall, argues Coates, are a double-edged sword that provide greater legal clarity but expand the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada. Coates recounts the history of Mikmaq-white contact in the region and considers the impact of native rights on natural resources, showing that the costs will be borne mainly by rural Canadians. By placing the local and regional reaction to the Marshall decision in the broader historical, national, and international context of indigenous political and legal rights The Marshall Decision and Native Rights shows how little Canada has learned from three decades of First Nations legal conflicts and how far the country is from meaningful reconciliation. Ken Coates is a professor of history at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John and the author of many books on Canadas aboriginal peoples. He has advised governments in Canada and New Zealand on land claims and is a frequent commentator on aboriginal issues. [via]