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Article Critique
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Reflections On Reasons For Judgment In Delgamuukw Vs. B.C (Article Critique Sample)


Critical Article Review: Judging History: Reflections on Reasons for Judgment in Delgamuukw v. B.C


Critical Article Review: Judging History: Reflections on Reasons for Judgment in Delgamuukw v. B.C
The article, “Judging History: Reflections on Reasons for Judgment in Delgamuukw v. B.C”, was written by Robin Fisher in the year 1992 for British Colombia Quarterly Journal. In the article, Fisher addresses the reasons why the judgment of Chief Justice Allan McEachern in Delgamuukw v. B.C has been opposed by anthropologists and the natives. The central argument of the author is that whenever judges want to use history to define the law, they must listen to historians and not disregard them. As a result, there were flaws in the judgment that was passed by McEachern. The historians, in turn, need to make themselves heard. Historian Robin Fisher has provided an effective analysis of the subject. In the article, Fisher argued that while the judgment of McEachern was based on works of historians, he paid little attention to these works and omitted a lot of facts hence making his judgment flawed. Fisher also points out that McEachern was not able to distinguish between “good and bad history”.
In the article, Fisher argues that McEachern was quoted as saying that he accepts almost everything historians put before him while treating the arguments of the anthropologists and the natives with a lot of skepticism. Even though McEachern upholds the reliability of historians and he appears to appeal to history, he lacks a basic understanding of historical methodologies. Moreover, he never understands the conclusions made by historians about the natives of Canada. As a result, there are serious flaws in the reasons for McEachern's judgment. The judge believed that historians were tasked with collecting documents. This is not right. Clearly, the judge never really understood what historians do and yet he still used historical documents in his judgment.[Fisher, Robin. "Judging History: Reflections on Reasons for Judgment in Delgamuukw v. BC." BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly 95 (1992): 43-54.]
The author notes that McEachern quotes documents without citing where the sources are from. Therefore, it is hard to verify the sources of information that the judge uses. The judge also lacked a basic understanding of how historical documents should work. As Fisher notes, the judge believed that historical documents were self-explanatory and therefore needed no explanations. It appears that the judge believes documented works without questioning the sources. It only follows that the judge should allow evidence presented by people because it is their own account of events. It is much like history that is not documented. The judge downplays the importance of knowing the writers of historical documents making it hard to know how authentic his quotations are. McEachern believes that historical documents are the main source of past information that can be relied on. For a man that claims to love history and historians, this is completely wrong. Even historians appreciate that they need to go beyond relying on written documents as the main source of information for understanding indigenous people. In this regard, it should not escape common knowledge that archeology and oral tradition are important in understanding the cultures of the natives before the arrival of the Europeans NOTEREF _Ref509356696 \h 2. The judge could have reduced the flaws in his judgment by ensuring that all the sources used were thoroughly checked because no document can ever lack deficiencies. The judge uses written records without appreciating that they have their limitations. He only recognizes that there are limitations to oral history and not written history.[Fisher, Robin. "Judging History: Reflecti...

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