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The Land Is Our HistoryIndigeneity, Law, and the Settler State$
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Miranda Johnson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190600020

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600020.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Frontier Justice and Self-Determination in Canada’s North

Frontier Justice and Self-Determination in Canada’s North

(p.56) 3 Frontier Justice and Self-Determination in Canada’s North
The Land Is Our History

Miranda Johnson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 examines the first collective land claim by Dene people in Canada’s Northwest Territories in 1973. Threatened by a proposed oil and gas pipeline, Dene people pursued land rights in a period of rapid social and economic change. Drawing on historical treaties, they tried to push the state into negotiating with them as coeval partners with aboriginal title rights. When this strategy failed, they had to go to court where a sympathetic judge drew on the precedent established in the Gove land rights case to admit their histories into court. The case was hugely significant for Dene people and their struggle for self-determination. It also showed how risky legal strategies could be for indigenous peoples, particularly in terms of how their history as peoples of the land would be measured according to notions of authenticity they did not define.

Keywords:   Dene, Caveat case, Re Paulette and Registrar of Land Titles, James Wah-Shee, Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, aboriginal title, treaties, Bill Morrow, legal evidence, frontier

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