288 pages, 6 x 9
10 b&w photos
Release Date:01 Nov 2018

Truth and Conviction

Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaq Quest for Justice

SERIES: Law and Society
UBC Press

The name “Donald Marshall Jr.” is synonymous with “wrongful conviction” and the fight for Indigenous rights in Canada. In Truth and Conviction, Jane McMillan – Marshall’s former wife, an acclaimed anthropologist, and an original defendant in the Supreme Court’s Marshall decision on Indigenous fishing rights – tells the story of how Marshall’s fight against injustice permeated Canadian legal consciousness and revitalized Indigenous law.

Marshall was destined to assume the role of hereditary chief of Mi’kmaq nation when, in 1971, at the age of seventeen, he was wrongly convicted of murder. He spent more than eleven years in jail before a royal commission exonerated him and exposed the entrenched racism underlying the terrible miscarriage of justice. Four years later, in 1993, he was charged with fishing eels without a licence. With the backing of Mi’kmaq chiefs and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, he took the case all the way to the Supreme Court to vindicate Indigenous treaty rights in the landmark Marshall decision.

Marshall was only fifty-five when he died in 2009. His legacy lives on as Mi’kmaq continue to assert their rights and build justice programs grounded in customary laws and practices, key steps in the path to self-determination and reconciliation.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in the Donald Marshall story, Indigenous peoples encounters with the law, and social justice issues.

Jane McMillian has written an admirable, engaging, and formidable book about an Indigenous man’s quest for justice against the systemic injustices of Canada. Sákéj Henderson, research fellow, Native Law Centre of Canada, University of Saskatchewan
L. Jane McMillan is the former Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Peoples and Sustainable Communities and chair of the department of Anthropology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A former eel fisher and one of the original defendants in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Marshall decision (1999), she has worked with Mi’kmaq communities for over twenty years, conducting ethnographic research, developing policy, and advocating for Indigenous and treaty rights and for community-based justice.
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