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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Lament for a First Nation

The Williams Treaties of Southern Ontario

In a 1994 decision known as Howard, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the Aboriginal signatories to the 1923 Williams Treaties had knowingly given up not only their title to off-reserve lands but also their treaty rights to hunt and fish for food. No other First Nations in Canada have ever been found to have willingly surrendered similar rights. Blair argues that the Canadian courts caused a serious injustice by applying erroneous cultural assumptions in their interpretation of the evidence. In particular, they confused provincial government policy, which has historically favoured public over special rights, with the understanding of the parties at the time.

352 pages

Law and Society

Table of Contents



Part 1: Historical Background

1 History of the Williams Treaties First Nations

2 Imperial Crown Policy

3 A New Crown Policy

4 Jurisdictional Disputes

5 Bureaucratic Obstacles

Part 2: The Williams Treaties

6 The Push for a New Treaty

7 Differing Perceptions

8 The Howard Case

9 Analysis





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