In a 1994 decision known as Howard, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the Aboriginal signatories to the 1923 Williams Treaties had knowingly given up not only their title to off-reserve lands but also their treaty rights to hunt and fish for food. No other First Nations in Canada have ever been found to have willingly surrendered similar rights. Blair argues that the Canadian courts caused a serious injustice by applying erroneous cultural assumptions in their interpretation of the evidence. In particular, they confused provincial government policy, which has historically favoured public over special rights, with the understanding of the parties at the time.
Peggy J. Blair is one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the field of Aboriginal law.