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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ray on Native History in Court

The new McGill-Queen's University Press catalogue (for Fall 2011) is out. Not much legal history this time (and they don't have a category for legal history per se in their website index, which is a fail.)  But this, classified under History, looks great.

Telling It to the Judge

Taking Native History to Court

Arthur J. Ray
Ray, Professor Emeritus at UBC (where the history department website is currently wonky) draws on his own extensive experience as an expert witness to provide what sounds like a fascinating and illuminating view of the intersection of history, aboriginal rights and the litigation process. This will be a great teaching tool for law, law-and-society and Indigenous studies courses.
From the publishers' blurb:
In 1973, the Supreme Court's historic Calder decision on the Nisga'a community's title suit in British Columbia launched the Native rights litigation era in Canada. Legal claims have raised questions with significant historical implications, such as, "What treaty rights have survived in various parts of Canada? What is the scope of Aboriginal title? Who are the Métis, where do they live, and what is the nature of their culture and their rights?"

Arthur Ray's extensive knowledge in the history of the fur trade and Native economic history brought him into the courts as an expert witness in the mid-1980s. For over twenty-five years he has been a part of landmark litigation concerning treaty rights, Aboriginal title, and Métis rights. In Telling It to the Judge, Ray recalls lengthy courtroom battles over lines of evidence, historical interpretation, and philosophies of history, reflecting on the problems inherent in teaching history in the adversarial courtroom setting.


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