From Where I Stand
Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada
An Indigenous leader who has dedicated her life to Indigenous Rights, Jody Wilson-Raybould has represented both First Nations and the Crown at the highest levels. And she is not afraid to give Canadians what they need most – straight talk on how to deconstruct Canada's dark colonial legacy and embrace a new era of recognition and reconciliation.
In this powerful book, drawn from Wilson-Raybould’s speeches and other writings, she urges all Canadians – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – to build upon the momentum already gained in the reconciliation process or risk hard-won progress being lost. The choice is stark: support Indigenous-led initiatives for Nation rebuilding or continue to allow governments to just “manage the problem.” She also argues that true reconciliation will never occur unless governments transcend barriers enshrined in the Indian Act that continue to deny Indigenous Peoples their rights. Until then, we’ll be stuck in the status quo – mired in conflicts and court cases that do nothing to improve people’s lives or heal the country.
The good news is that Indigenous Nations already have the solutions. But now is the time to act and build a shared postcolonial future based on the foundations of trust, cooperation, recognition, and good governance. Frank and impassioned, this book charts a course forward – one that will not only empower Indigenous Peoples but strengthen the well-being of Canada and all Canadians.
From Where I Stand is indispensable reading for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the reconciliation process to know what they can do to make a difference -- ranging from engaged citizens, leaders, and policy-makers to students, educators, and academics, and to lawyers and consultants.
From Where I Stand is a must-read book for all Canadians. Puglaas shares a clear understanding of where we have come from, the issues we must address, and the pathways to a transformed future. Having witnessed her remarkable courage and capacity as Canada’s attorney general and her determination to do what is right without succumbing to unrelenting political pressure, Puglaas stands tall among Canadians as a person for whom truth, thoughtfulness, and principle are not mere words – but values to sustain a different kind of policy and politics.
Jody Wilson-Raybould’s quest for justice has long driven her work. I first saw this when she was a law student and this commitment to justice has only been deepened by subsequent public service. Her unwavering commitment to reconciliation, balance, and good governance springs off every page of this book.
JWR is on target. This must-read book speaks about our journey to an Indigenous Quiet Revolution.
Jody Wilson-Raybould was not only born to be a leader but accepted the role as her responsibility, and she has fulfilled it with honour and grace and courage. There is no one better-suited to reflect on the shared future of Canada and what needs to be done to make reconciliation a reality in this country.
Canadians came to understand Jody Wilson-Raybould’s passion and commitment for judicial and political reform through her work as the federal Minister of Justice. Behind her engagement in the cut and thrust of politics, however, lay one of the country’s most informed and thoughtful minds. In this much-anticipated book, Wilson-Raybould explains the cultural and historical roots of Indigenous hurt, anger, and despair. But true to her nature, she also offers the country a practical, reasonable, and viable path towards real and lasting reconciliation. This is a brilliant view of what is both possible and necessary.
Writing from both the Big House and the House on Parliament Hill, Jody Wilson-Raybould offers unique and profound perspectives from two worlds. In this book, she maps out how First Nations can overcome the struggles of the colonial world and move toward a self-determined future in a world that is better for all. Jody’s vision is clear, and her voice is essential for understanding the urgency needed for colonial and First Nations governments to develop both the political will and the commitment to action needed for a better Canada.
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, QC, MP, also known by her initials JWR and by her ancestral name Puglaas, is a lawyer, advocate, and a proud Indigenous Canadian. She is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, which are part of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw or Kwak’wala-speaking peoples, and she is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation.
Throughout her career, Ms. Wilson-Raybould has built a strong reputation as a bridge builder between communities and a champion of good governance, justice, and accountability. She was elected as the Member of Parliament for the new constituency of Vancouver Granville in October 2015. On November 4, 2015, she was appointed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, making her the first Indigenous person to serve in this portfolio. She then served as Minister of Veterans Affairs from January 14, 2019, to February 12, 2019.
Prior to entering politics, she was a provincial Crown prosecutor in Vancouver and later served as an adviser at the BC Treaty Commission, a body established to oversee complex treaty negotiations between First Nations and the Crown. In 2004, she was elected as Commissioner by the Chiefs of the First Nations Summit.
In 2009, Ms. Wilson-Raybould was elected BC Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, where she devoted herself to the advancement of First Nations governance, fair access to lands and resources, as well as improved education and health care services. She was re-elected as Regional Chief in 2012 and served until 2015, holding responsibilities for governance and nation building on the Assembly of First Nations National Executive. Ms. Wilson-Raybould also served two terms as an elected Councillor for the We Wai Kai Nation between 2009 and 2015.
An active volunteer in the community, Ms. Wilson-Raybould has been a director for Capilano College, the Minerva Foundation for BC Women, the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance. She was also a director on the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and Chair of the First Nations Finance Authority.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould lives in Vancouver and is married to Dr. Tim Raybould.
Foreword | Senator Murray Sinclair
Moving through the Postcolonial Door
We Truly Have Come a Long Way ...
Idle No More and Recapturing the Spirit and Intent of the Two Row Wampum
On the Parallels, and Differences, between Canada and South Africa
Our Shared Histories and the Path of Reconciliation
Rights and Recognition
Friduciary Gridlock and the Inherent Right of Self-Government
Translating Hard-Fought-For Rights into Practical and Meaningful Benefits
UNDRIP Is the Start, Not the Finishing Line
Defining the Path of Reconciliation through Section 35
Indigenous Rights Are Human Rights
Governance in the Post-Indian Act World
Toppling the Indian Act Tree
First Nations Jurisdiction over Citizenship
Holding and Managing Our Lands
On Accountability and Transparency
Developing a New Fiscal Relationship
The Governance Toolkit and Building on OUR Success
Building Business Relationships and the Duty to Consult
Economic Development Depends on Self-Government
First Nations Are Not a Box to Tick Off
Who Owns and Is Responsible for the Water?
On Certainty and Why It’s Elusive
Restoring Balance, Correcting Injustices, and Remaining Vigilant
A Litmus Test for Reconciliation Is the Status of Women
Preventing First Contacts with the Criminal Justice System
On Sticking Our Necks Out
On Obstruction, Denial, and Canada’s Failure to Uphold the Rule of Law
Each of Us, In Our Own Way, Is a Hiligax̱ste’
A Note on Terminology and the Speeches
Case Law and Legislation Cited
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