Treaties and Government
Writing in response to a student asking him what the treaties mean, Harold Johnson’s narrative on the relationship between First Nations, governments, and society in general presents a different view of the treaty relationship. Treaties were the instruments that gave Europeans the right to settle here, share resources, and build a relationship of equality with those who were here before. Johnson’s ancestors did not intend the treaties to allow the subjugation and impoverishment of First Nations, or give settler governments the right to legislate every aspect of First Nations activities.
In an easy to read style, the author presents his eloquent view, on behalf of a people, on what treaties between First Nations and governments represent. Topics discussed include the justice system, reconciliation of laws, political divisions, resources, taxation, assimilation, leadership, sovereignty, the Constitution, youth, and relations between next generations. Two Families is a passionate plea for the restoration of harmony and equality between First Nations and the rest of Canadian society. It is a must read for everyone seeking to understand an Aboriginal perspective on treaties.
“Kiciwamanawak, my cousin: that is what my Elders said to call you. You have a treaty right to occupy and use this territory. You received that right when my family adopted yours.”
While initially it may appear to be a strange addition to a law library, this slender text should be required reading for anyone working in aboriginal law or treaty interpretation.
As Chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, I endorse the writing of Harold Johnson. His use of the inclusive Kiciwamanawak in the discussion formally introduces him as the speaker for all of us to all of you…
1 My Family
2 Your Family
3 The Adoption of Your Family by My Family
4 Your Family’s Justice System
5 Reconciliation of Laws
6 Political Divisions
12 Your Constitution
14 Next Generation
Appendix A: Treaty No. 6
Appendix B: Adhesion by Cree Indians
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