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UBC Press Presents


Oral Histories

In the Courtroom

More than a Matter of Evidence

A Panel discussion

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Aboriginal Oral Histories in the Courtroom panel. Below, please find a full video of the panel to watch and share. To find out about other UBC Press events, please check our website or follow us on Twitter @UBCPress.

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Time: 2:30–4:30pm
Location: The University of British Columbia, Liu Institute for Global Issues,
Multipurpose Room, 6476 NW Marine Drive

FREE event. Limited capacity. Get your TICKETS now (via Eventbrite).
Download the poster (11 x 17").

In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada’s Delgamuukw decision determined that oral traditions must be placed “on an equal footing with the types of historical evidence that courts are familiar with” in Aboriginal land claims court proceedings. But how has oral history been used in the courts since that potentially ground-breaking ruling?

In this panel discussion, experts from anthropology, law, literature, and Indigenous studies explore how oral narratives might be treated in the long process from their transmission by one person to another, their placement in archives, their handling by Crown and tribal/band researchers, their performance in a courtroom, and finally to their evaluation by trial judges as forms of evidence. The panelists consider the role of cultural "insiders" and "outsiders" and how an ethics of collaboration may offer strategies for addressing the problem of translating oral traditions into statements of Aboriginal title in the courtroom. They also invite us to consider how scholarship can transform the process of Aboriginal rights litigation.

Panelists Moderator
Sophie McCall Linc Kesler

Bruce Granville Miller, professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, is the author of Oral History on Trial: Recognizing Aboriginal Narratives in the Courts.

Sophie McCall, associate professor of English at Simon Fraser University, is the author of First Person Plural: Aboriginal Story-telling and the Ethics of Collaborative Authorship.

Darlene Johnston, associate professor in the Faculty of Law at UBC, was awarded the designation of Indigenous People’s Counsel from the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada in 2008.

Linc Kesler is chair of the First Nations Studies Program at UBC, director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning, and Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs.

Follow us @UBCPress on Twitter for updates through the hashtag #UBCOralHistory.

Presented by The University of British Columbia Press.

The University of British Columbia Press is Canada’s leading social sciences publisher. With an international reputation for publishing high-quality works of original scholarship, our books draw on and reflect cutting-edge research, pushing the boundaries of academic discourse in innovative directions. Each year UBC Press publishes seventy new titles in a number of fields, including Aboriginal studies, Asian studies, Canadian history, environmental studies, gender and women’s studies, health and food studies, geography, law, media and communications, military and security studies, planning and urban studies, and political science.

UBC Press | thought that counts

Oral History on Trial

Oral History on Trial
Recognizing Aboriginal Narratives in the Courts

A powerful argument for the inclusion of Aboriginal oral histories in Canadian courts of law.

Oral History on Trial

First Person Plural
Aboriginal Storytelling and the Ethics of Collaborative Authorship

An innovative, interdisciplinary study of the nature, significance, and impact of "told-to" narratives in debates about Indigenous voice and literary and political sovereignty.

More books on Aboriginal studies and Law can be found in the following catalogues:

Aboriginal Studies
2011-12 catalogue

2011-12 catalogue


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