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Social Science Native American Studies

On Being Here to Stay

Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada

by (author) Michael Asch

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Feb 2014
Native American Studies, Cultural, General
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2014
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    Feb 2014
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    Feb 2014
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What, other than numbers and power, justifies Canada’s assertion of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the country’s vast territory? Why should Canada’s original inhabitants have to ask for rights to what was their land when non-Aboriginal people first arrived? The question lurks behind every court judgment on Indigenous rights, every demand that treaty obligations be fulfilled, and every land-claims negotiation.

Addressing these questions has occupied anthropologist Michael Asch for nearly thirty years. In On Being Here to Stay, Asch retells the story of Canada with a focus on the relationship between First Nations and settlers.

Asch proposes a way forward based on respecting the “spirit and intent” of treaties negotiated at the time of Confederation, through which, he argues, First Nations and settlers can establish an ethical way for both communities to be here to stay.

About the author

Michael Asch is a professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta and a professor (limited term) in the Department of Anthropology and adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria.

Michael Asch's profile page


  • Winner, 2015 Canada Prize awarded by The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Editorial Reviews

‘Asch provides compelling evidence that demonstrates the need to alter our relationship with Indigenous peoples… His position is well founded, legitimately defended and in my opinion, a genuine way to reconcile “our being here to stay” with Indigenous peoples.’

The Canadian Journal of Native Studies vol34:02:2014

‘On Being Here to Stay is a thought provoking read. Michael Asch provides a different perspective on treaty relations not found in most law-oriented texts.’

Saskatchewan Law Review vol 78:2015

‘For academic law libraries with collection interests in aboriginal law, this title is an essential addition.’

Law Library Journal vol 106:04:2014

‘In a work relating to treaty rights, there is much here that will contribute to better understandings across a range of Aboriginal and treaty rights issues. Asch has here extended yet again his lifetime of contributing to discussions on section 35 rights, and we should all immensely appreciate his contribution.’

Review of Constitutional Studies vol 19:02:2015

‘Michael Asch argues his points with elegance and logic. His work is always a pleasure to read…This important reflection on the state of Indigenous/settler relations in Canada merits a wide readership.’

BC Studies issue 186, summer 2015

Other titles by Michael Asch