National Indigenous History Month: Law Books Spotlight

June is National Indigenous History Month, a time to encourage us all to recognize and learn more about the history and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the new titles on the Law Books for Libraries list which feature Indigenous-specific legal content.  


Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix it 

By Bruce McIvor 

Lawyer and historian Bruce McIvor pens a series of essays in this title, explaining the pitfalls and failings of current Canadian settler attempts at reconciliation. From the publisher’s website: “McIvor’s message is consistent and powerful: if Canadians are brave enough to confront the reality of the country’s colonialist past and present and insist that politicians replace empty promises with concrete, meaningful change, there is a realistic path forward based on respect, recognition and the implementation of Indigenous rights.” 


Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice: A Search for Ways Forward 

By David Milward 

This title explores the enduring effects of residential schools, in particular the crisis of over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The author provides clear connections between the legacy of harm of residential schools and current over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples in order to show a way forward.  


Indigenous Repatriation Handbook 

By Jisgang Nika Collison, Sdaahl K̲’awaas Lucy Bell, Lou-ann Neel 

This handbook, created by and for Indigenous peoples, discusses repatriation – the return of Indigenous objects and Ancestral remains to their home communities – as a necessary part of reconciliation. The title provides practical information with the goal of enabling each unique Indigenous language and cultural group in BC to repatriate their belongings in alignment with their cultural traditions.  


First Nations Self-Government: 17 Roadblocks to Self-Determination and One Chief’s Thoughts on Solutions 

By Leroy Paul Wolf Collar 

Written by the former Chief of Siksika Nation in southern Alberta, this title describes the problems facing Indigenous communities in their assertion of their right to self-determination. He identifies 17 issues that currently hinder Indigenous Nations, such as broken treaty promises and the intrusion of provincial governments, along with potential solutions to these problems.  


Beyond Rights: The Nisga’a Final Agreement and the Challengers of Modern Treaty Relationships 

By Carole Blackburn 

Using the groundbreaking Nisga’a treaty – which discussed fundamental issues such as soveriegnty and distribution of rights – as a case study, this title analyses the potential and limitations of treaty making as a way to address colonial injustices and achieve legal recognition for Indigenous nations.  


We always get a large amount of interest in the Indigenous titles one the Law Books for Libraries list. Our most popular title last year was To Share, Not Surrender: Indigenous and Settler Visions of Treaty-Making in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 

Edited by Peter Cook, Neil Vallance, John Sutton Lutz, Graham Brazier, and Hamar Foster 

This title evaluates the historical and current day impacts of treaty-making in the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Featuring essays, translations/interpretations of the treaties into the SENĆOŦEN and Lekwungen languages, and contributions by participants of the Songhees, Huu-ay-aht, and WSANEC peoples, the title discusses the continuing inability to arrive at equitable land-sharing arrangements caused by the lack of will to accommodate First Nations world views with the overall goal to understand why and advance reconciliation.  


All these titles are on the Law Books for Libraries list which means they are all pre-approved for purchase with your library’s LawMatters grant funding. Remember, you can also use your grant funding for special print-based projects at your library; previous special projects have included purchasing multiple copies of a title to use in book clubs or to giveaway at library events. If you have a special project in mind, or book/s you’d like to purchase which are not on the Law Books for Libraries list, please get in touch with us! Approval for projects and other titles are decided on a case-by-case basis.