By Law or In Justice
256 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Apr 2018
Release Date:01 Apr 2018

By Law or In Justice

The Indian Specific Claims Commission and the Struggle for Indigenous Justice

UBC Press, Purich Books

The Indian Specific Claims Commission (ICC) was formed in 1991 in response to the Oka crisis. Its purpose was to resolve and expedite specific claims arising out of promises made to Indigenous nations in treaties, the Indian Act, and the larger set of legal and ethical obligations flowing from the Crown to those nations. Had those promises been kept, these claims would not exist.

By Law or In Justice traces the history of Indigenous claims in Canada and the work of the ICC from 1991 until it was decommissioned by the Harper government in 2009. An insider’s account, it is written by long-standing ICC commissioner Jane Dickson who looks critically at the development and implementation of Canada’s specific claims policy. Drawing upon the records of the commission and a wealth of research and experience with Indigenous claims and communities, she provides an unflinching look at the inquiry process and the parties involved as they struggled to achieve just resolution of specific claims.

By Law or In Justice provides a balanced, careful analysis of Canada’s claims policy, the challenges faced by Indigenous claimants, and the legacy of the commission. By documenting the promises made and broken to Indigenous nations, this book also makes a passionate plea for greater claims justice so that true reconciliation can be achieved.

The book is intended for the wide range of readers who want or need to know more about how the claims process works and how the state met, or failed to meet, its promises to Indigenous peoples through this process. This includes scholars, particularly in law, political science, anthropology, and sociology; government policy makers; and lawyers and negotiators working in this area.More generally it will be of interest to Canadians concerned about the just resolution of land claims, reconciliation, and Indigenous rights in Canada.

Jane Dickson has a long and well-respected history of research, teaching, and grassroots activism in the furtherance of social, legal, and cultural justice for Indigenous peoples within Canada. She has served as an advisor to the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake on traditional justice and has two decades of service as an advisor to the Department of Justice and Corrections of the Cree Nation Government. This work informs her research and her many publications, including her collaboration with Carol LaPrairie, Will the Circle be Unbroken: Aboriginal Communities, Restorative Justice, and the Challenges of Conflict and Change, and her work on restorative justice, cross-border rights, citizenship and membership, and Gladue, including the authorship of over 70 Gladue reports. Her work has been acknowledged by a Governor General’s Gold Medal, a Law Commission of Canada research award, and a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship in England in 2007. She has spoken before Parliamentary and Senate committees in Canada, participated in the US Department of Justice Expert Working Group on Tribal Justice, and also served as an expert witness before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Court of Canada. Currently an associate professor of law and legal studies at Carleton University, Jane Dickson served as an Indian Claims Commissioner from 2002 to 2009.
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