[T]he reality is, and the Canadian Alliance understands this and will support policies that aim us in this direction, that the two row wampum that we are familiar with, that symbol of the aboriginal ship and the European ship moving side by side, is an inaccurate and inadequate representation of the way that we should be go on the sea of life together. It certainly is a way we can go on separately.
The two-row wampum is probably the oldest symbol of indigenous-settler treaty-making and coexistence here in North America. It's usually understood to represent reciprocal relationships of peace, friendship, and respect. So clearly that's a bad idea?
The concepts of nation-to-nation independence and allegiance it represents have been renewed in recent decades by a series of powerful court decisions, and the cultural as well as the legal tides have been turning away from the paternalism of the Indian Act and towards the sovereign relatedness of Treaty as a more just paradigm for reconciliation.
But I guess those ideas—that whole concept of an independent and ethical relationship—just kind of passed Pallister by. Even though he was the Canadian Alliance critic of Indian Affairs.
To Pallister's credit, he argues in this same speech that indigenous peoples should "not be subjected to the same kinds of colonial, paternalistic, assimilationist types of policies that they had been unfortunately subjected to in past history." AND THEN HE ARGUES THAT THEY AREN'T TO BE TRUSTED TO GOVERN THEMSELVES.
Sadly, Pallister spent much of his time as critic for Indian Affairs calling for the rejection of indigenous sovereignty and traditional systems of leadership. At every turn he insists that the way forward is the imposition of settler-colonial systems of administration and control. And as part of that he's willing to throw away the two-row wampum, which should really offer us all an abiding symbol of hope, reconciliation, and possibility.