First Nations Elders interpreted treaties as instruments that gave Europeans the right to settle here, share resources, and build a relationship of equality with those who were here before. These elders 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 narrative, Harold Johnson presents an eloquent view, on behalf of a people, of what treaties represent, including the justice system and reconciliation of laws, resources and taxation, assimilation, leadership and sovereignty, Constitutional rights, youth, and relations between next generations.
Harold Johnson practices law in La Ronge, northern Saskatchewan, and balances this with operating his family’s traditional trap line using a dog team. He has served in the Canadian Navy, and worked in mining and logging before returning to school. He holds a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a master’s degree in law from Harvard. He is also the author of two novels, Billy Tinker and Backtrack, both set in northern Saskatchewan against a background of traditional Cree mythology.
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.