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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Eagle Down Is Our Law

Witsuwit’en Law, Feasts, and Land Claims

Eagle Down Is Our Law is about the struggle of the Witsuwit’en peoples to establish the meaning of aboriginal rights. With the neighbouring Gitksan, the Witsuwit’en launched a major land claims court case asking for the ownership and jurisdiction of 55,000 square kilometers of land in north-central British Columbia that they claim to have held since before the arrival of the Europeans. In conjunction with that court case, the Gitksan and Witsuwit’en asked a number of expert witnesses, among them Antonia Mills, an anthropologist, to prepare reports on their behalf. Her report, which instructs the judge in the case on the laws, feasts, and institutions of the Witsuwit’en, is presented here. Her testimony is based on two years of participant observation with the Witsuwit’en peoples and on her reading of the anthropological, historic, archaeological, and linguistic data about the Witsuwit’en.

238 pages

Table of Contents

Foreword / Disdaywa (Alfred Joseph)

Foreword / Mas Gak (Don Ryan)

Preface / Michael Kew

Preface / Michael Jackson



1 The Nature of Witsuwit’en Society

2 The Nature and Function of the Witsuwit’en Feast

3 Genesis of the Witsuwit’en

4 Witsuwit’en Institutions

5 Witsuwit’en Law

6 The Witsuwit’en Interface with the World 





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