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Dancing Around the Table, Part One

1987 57 min
Leaving soon

Dancing Around the Table: Part One provides a fascinating look at the crucial role Indigenous people played in shaping the Canadian Constitution. The 1984 Federal Provincial Conference of First Ministers on Aboriginal Constitutional Matters was a tumultuous and antagonistic process that pitted Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the First Ministers—who refused to include Indigenous inherent rights to self-government in the Constitution—against First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, who would not back down from this historic opportunity to enshrine Indigenous rights.In a now infamous exchange, Kwakwaka’wakw lawyer and lead negotiator Bill Wilson states that he has two children who want …

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Dancing Around the Table, Part One

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Dancing Around the Table: Part One provides a fascinating look at the crucial role Indigenous people played in shaping the Canadian Constitution. The 1984 Federal Provincial Conference of First Ministers on Aboriginal Constitutional Matters was a tumultuous and antagonistic process that pitted Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the First Ministers—who refused to include Indigenous inherent rights to self-government in the Constitution—against First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, who would not back down from this historic opportunity to enshrine Indigenous rights.

In a now infamous exchange, Kwakwaka’wakw lawyer and lead negotiator Bill Wilson states that he has two children who want to become lawyers and prime minister. When he says that they are Indigenous women, the male audience bursts into laughter, and Trudeau replies, “Tell them I’ll stick around until they’re ready.” Over 30 years later, Bill Wilson’s daughter, Jody Wilson-Raybould, became Canada’s first Indigenous minister of justice and attorney general in the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The conference was Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s last constitutional meeting before he resigned and the process was handed over to his successor, Brian Mulroney.
  • director
    Maurice Bulbulian
  • editing
    Maurice Bulbulian
  • executive producer
    Raymond Gauthier
  • photography
    Serge Giguère
    Roger Rochat
    Jean-Pierre Lachapelle
    Charles Lavack
  • sound
    Yvon Benoît
    Jean-Guy Normandin
    Yves Gendron
    Esther Auger
    Andrew Koster
  • sound editing
    Marc Hébert
    Michelle Guérin
  • re-recording
    Roger Lamoureux

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Education

Ages 12 to 17

Pre-teach the concept of self-government as proposed by the Native peoples in Canada. Discuss the many arguments put forth by the Native peoples at this conference. Comment on the attitudes of the Native leaders, Prime Minister Trudeau, René Lévesque and Premier Richard Hatfield of New Brunswick. Is it accurate to call the actions of the BC and federal governments "genocide"?

Dancing Around the Table, Part One
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