Abstract

Australia, Canada, and the United States formally apologized to their Indigenous peoples in February 2008, June 2008, and December 2009, respectively. The Indigenous peoples in these countries are relatively small in size and Indigenous issues usually lack salience in national elections, so these near simultaneous apologies appear somewhat surprising. All three came after years of pressure and incompletely realized apologies. The presence of a focusing event and the level of Indigenous mobilization help explain the variation among the apologies, with Canada and Australia’s apologies stronger than the U.S. one. However, the impact of the apologies on the three governments’ efforts to reconcile with their Indigenous populations remains unclear.

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