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Eagle Down Is Our Law: Witsuwit'En Law, Feasts, and Land Claims

Mills, Antonia

Published by Univ of British Columbia Pr
ISBN 10: 0774804971 / ISBN 13: 9780774804974
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Title: Eagle Down Is Our Law: Witsuwit'En Law, ...

Publisher: Univ of British Columbia Pr

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

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Dust Cover Missing. Light shelf wear and minimal interior marks. Bookseller Inventory # G0774804971I3N01

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Synopsis: "Eagle Down is Our Law" is about the struggle of the Wet'suwet'en Indians, formerly known as the Bulkley River Carrier, to establish the meaning of aboriginal rights to the land they inhabit in north central British Columbia. With the neighbouring Gitksan Indians, the Wet'suwet'en launched a major land claims court case asking for ownership and jurisdiction of 22,000 square miles of land they claim they have held since the arrival of Europeans. In conjunction with the court case, the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en asked a number of expert witnesses, among them Antonia Mills, an anthropologist, to prepare reports on their behalf. "Eagle Down is Our Law" presents Mills's testimony, which was based on two years of participant observation with the Wet'suwet'en people as they prepared to go to court and her reading of the anthropological, archaeological, historical and linguistic data about the Wet'suwet'en. The judge who rendered the decision in the court case, known as Delgamuukw vs. The Queen, ruled in 1991 that the Wet'suwet'en and the Gitksan have no aboriginal rights, and that the Expert Opinion Reports of the anthropologists were of little use in reaching a decision, in part because the witnesses were "more advocates that witnesses" and in part because they relied on the testimony of the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en chiefs. The report is introduced by legal scholar Michael Jackson, who explains the role of expert opinion reports; by Professor Michael Kew, who describes the response of anthropologists to the judge's decision; by Alfred Joseph, Chief Gisdaywa of the Wet'suwet'en, one of the chiefs who initiated the court case and a witness to the testimony of Antonia Mills; and Don Ryan, Chief Maas Gaak of the Gitksan, another key figure in the struggle for aboriginal rights. The prologue by Antonia Mills describes the report in the context of the epic three year court case and an epilogue, also by Mills, discusses the present status of the appeal and what the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en have done not only to appeal the decision but also to publicize their case and address the issues of aboriginal rights.

Product Description: 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.

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