Regardless of Canada’s governmental attitude of entitlement, First Nations, Métis and Inuit lands and resources are still tied to treaties and other documents. Their relevance seems forever in dispute, so it is important to know about them, to read them, to hear them and to comprehend their constitutional significance in contemporary life.
This book aims to reveal another side of the treaties and their histories, focusing on stories from contemporary perspectives, both Mi’kmaw and their non-Mi’kmaw allies, who have worked with, experienced and indeed lived with the treaties at various times over the last fifty years. These authors have had experiences contesting the Crown’s version of the treaty story, or have been rebuilding the Mi’kmaq and their nation with the strength of their work from their understandings of Mi’kmaw history. They share how they came to know about treaties, about the key family members and events that shaped their thinking and their activism and life’s work.
Treaties were negotiated in good faith with the King or Queen with an objective of shared benefits to both parties and members. In Living Treaties, the authors offer the stories of those who have lived under the colonial regime of a not-so-ancient time. Herein are passionate activists and allies who uncover the treaties, and their contemporary meanings, to both Mi’kmaq and settler societies and who speak to their future with them. Here also are the voices of a new generation of indigenous lawyers and academics who have made their life choices with credentials solidly in hand in order to pursue social and cognitive justice for their families and their people. Their mission: to enliven the treaties out of the caverns of the public archives, to bring them back to life and to justice as part of the supreme law of Canada; and to use them to mobilize the Mi’kmaw restoration and renaissance that seeks to reaffirm, restore and rebuild Mi’kmaw identity, consciousness, knowledges and heritages, as well as our connections and rightful resources to our land and ecologies.