chapter  3
18 Pages

“We Should Take Each Other by the Hand”

Conciliation and Diplomacy in Colonial Australia and North West Canada
WithAmanda Nettelbeck

This chapter compares some examples of cross-cultural diplomatic exchange from nineteenth-century Canada and Australia and considers what they reveal about the formal establishment of colonial relationships. These two sites of British settlement are particularly worthy of comparison because, while they shared many similarities in ritualised diplomacy, they were underpinned by quite different terms of colonial rule. x The key difference was treaties: while the Canadian Dominion recognized Indigenous sovereignty to the degree that it negotiated treaties for the acquisition of territory, this process was not undertaken in Australia's colonies. The event held on 1 November 1838, mirrored the conciliating objective that had motivated Governor Macquarie twenty-four years earlier, and it shared many of the features of ceremonial diplomacy. In comparison, it might seem that Canada's First Nations held considerably more power in negotiating the land cession treaties that determined their relationship to the British Crown, but this would over-simplify the complexities and boundaries of indigenous agency in these colonial sites.