Synopsis – Nation to Nation

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Nation to Nation – A memoir of the Canadian Indian constitutional campaign in London (1979-1982)

Readers of Eaglechild might want to know what were some of the historical events that inspired the novel.

In this memoir, Victor Mannion O’Connell, gives a retrospective account of his personal involvement in the Canadian Indian campaign in London in 1981-1982 as the representative of many Indian chiefs.

He identifies the First Nations involved in London from time to time and the differences in their strategies and tactics.

He shows how the campaign affected the passage of the Canada Bill through the British Parliament in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and provides an Appendix containing excerpts from the official transcripts of the debates.

He explains how the Indian leaders tried to interact with the Queen and the British Government and all the political parties in Britain. And he reveals how they received certain diplomatic reassurances. He also comments on those Members of the British Parliament who supported the Indian campaign and those who reacted to it.

He analyses the political effect of the various Indian legal actions at the High Court in London and describes Indian dealings with certain paralegal and non-governmental organisations.

The Indian nations made formal presentations to a variety of other bodies in Britain and Europe, appeared on TV and conducted public tours and visitations in an attempt to develop rapport with their supporters among ordinary members of the public.

There are references to the sometimes heated interaction between the Indian campaign and the Canadian High Commission in London and meetings with the Agents General of several provincial governments – especially Québec. The Canadian media’s involvement in London is compared to that of the British media.

The author offers his analysis of the fundamental reasons the First Nations thought it necessary to visit London briefly in 1979 and 1980 and maintain offices there in 1981 and 1982. Finally, he suggests how the campaign helped create an Aboriginal Condition on the Canadian Constitution.

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