What is a treaty? Peter Cook, Neil Vallance, John Sutton Lutz, Graham Brazier, Hamar Foster (eds), To Share, Not Surrender: Indigenous and Settler Visions of Treaty Making in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, UBC Press, 2022


Description: Too often, history and knowledge of Indigenous-settler conflict over land take the form of confidential reports prepared for court challenges. To Share, Not Surrender offers an entirely new approach, opening scholarship to the public and augmenting it with First Nations community expertise. The collection appraises the historical and present-day relevance of treaty-making in the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The authors take us back to when James Douglas and his family relocated to Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island in 1849, critically tracing the transition from treaty-making in the colony of Vancouver Island to reserve formation in the colony of British Columbia. Informed by cel’aṉ’en – “our culture, the way of our people” – this multivocal work explicitly addresses the tensions between academic research, Indigenous knowledge, and local experience. The collection includes 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 chapters demonstrate that the continuing inability to arrive at equitable land-sharing arrangements stem from a fundamental absence of will with respect to accommodating First Nations world views. To Share, Not Surrender is an attempt to understand why, and thus to advance the urgent task of reconciliation in Canada. The multiple perspectives presented in this important work will find equally diverse audiences: Canadian historians, scholars and students of Indigenous studies, ethno-historians, legal historians, lawyers practising in the areas of Aboriginal law, and researchers preparing historical reports on First Nation land claims.

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