Treaties between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown are necessary to build Canada's law on a healthy foundation. Without treaties, Crown assertions of governance and title are not legitimate within Indigenous peoples' legal orders. As the US Supreme Court wrote in 1905: "treaties are a grant of rights from the Indians". If the Crown cannot trace its place in North America to Indigenous peoples' laws, it cannot govern in the healthiest way. This holds for areas where treaties are a reality. Promises must be fulfilled in ways which respect and advance Indigenous peoples legal orders. The failure to do so hinders meaningful reconciliation.
Michelle Good is of Cree ancestry, a descendent of the Battle River Cree and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation. She has worked with indigenous organizations since she was a teenager and at forty decided to approach that work in a different way obtaining her law degree from UBC at 43. She has practiced law in the public and private sector since then, primarily advocating for Residential School Survivors.
She graduated from UBC with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing MFA in 2014 where her novel Five Little Indians first started taking shape. Her poetry, and short stories have appeared in a number of publications. Her first novel, Five Little Indians won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize and her poetry has been included in Best Canadian Poetry in Canada 2016 and Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in Canada 2017.
Dr. John Borrows, BA, MA, JD, LLM, PhD, LLD, FRSC, is Canada's pre-eminent legal scholar and a global leader in the field of Indigenous legal traditions and Aboriginal rights. John holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria as well as the Law Foundation Chair in Aboriginal Justice and Governance.
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