As a historian specializing in Aboriginal rights and history, Arthur J. Ray has often been called as an expert witness in court proceedings involving Aboriginal land claims.
After decades of research, and many appearances in court, Ray found himself wondering whether the adversarial legal arena was the best forum for settling Aboriginal rights issues. Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate these things instead?
In a new book that examines how native peoples’ rights are handled in five countries, Ray concludes that there’s no single, direct path to Aboriginal rights. What seems to work best, he says, is a mix of litigation and negotiation – tempered by an awareness on the part of everyone concerned that different groups can have very different perspectives on the same event.