On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada

On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada

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By Michael Asch
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
232 Pages
ISBN 9781442610026
Published Feb 2014
Online discount: 25%
 $24.95    $18.71
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ISBN 9781442669840
Published Feb 2014
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What, other than numbers and power, justifies Canada’s assertion of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the country’s vast territory? Why should Canada’s original inhabitants have to ask for rights to what was their land when non-Aboriginal people first arrived? The question lurks behind every court judgment on Indigenous rights, every demand that treaty obligations be fulfilled, and every land-claims negotiation.

Addressing these questions has occupied anthropologist Michael Asch for nearly thirty years. In On Being Here to Stay, Asch retells the story of Canada with a focus on the relationship between First Nations and settlers.

Asch proposes a way forward based on respecting the “spirit and intent” of treaties negotiated at the time of Confederation, through which, he argues, First Nations and settlers can establish an ethical way for both communities to be here to stay.

Michael Asch is a professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta and a professor (limited term) in the Department of Anthropology and adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria.


Chapter 1: Overview

Chapter 2: Aboriginal Rights and the Canadian Constitution

Chapter 3: Aboriginal Rights and Temporal Priority

Chapter 4: Aboriginal Rights and Self-Determination

Chapter 5: Treaty Relations

Chapter 6: Treaties and Co-Existence

Chapter 7: Treaties and Sharing

Chapter 8: Spirit and Intent

Chapter 9: Setting the Record Straight

Appendix I: Proportionality

Appendix II: Treaty Map



“Michael Asch has written a brilliant account of Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples. Drawing from Aboriginal and Western political thought, he charts a clear and challenging course to a relationship based on mutual consent rather than the might of the settler majority. This is a must-read for Canadians – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – who wish to understand what went wrong with the relationship and how to set it right.”

Peter H. Russell, University Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

On Being Here To Stay is an interesting, clear, heartfelt argument for re-establishing the relationship between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and the Canadian state around recognizing and honouring the terms of the treaties that create the grounds on which non-native people may live here. This book reflects a lifetime of thought by a major scholar. It has voice. It has soul.”

Bruce G. Miller, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

“In this timely book, Michael Asch deftly untangles the legal morass that has clouded Indigenous–settler relationships and provides avenues of hope for the redress and rebalancing of current injustices and inequality. On Being Here to Stay will appeal to anyone interested in understanding and reconciling the relationships between Indigenous nations and settler society.”

Jane McMillan, Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Peoples and Sustainable Communities, Department of Anthropology, St Francis Xavier University

‘Michael Asch argues his points with elegance and logic. His work is always a pleasure to read…This important reflection on the state of Indigenous/settler relations in Canada merits a wide readership.’

Neil Vallance, BC Studies issue 186, summer 2015

‘Asch provides compelling evidence that demonstrates the need to alter our relationship with Indigenous peoples… His position is well founded, legitimately defended and in my opinion, a genuine way to reconcile “our being here to stay” with Indigenous peoples.’

Emily-Jean Gallant, The Canadian Journal of Native Studies vol34:02:2014

‘In a work relating to treaty rights, there is much here that will contribute to better understandings across a range of Aboriginal and treaty rights issues. Asch has here extended yet again his lifetime of contributing to discussions on section 35 rights, and we should all immensely appreciate his contribution.’

Dwight Newman, Review of Constitutional Studies vol 19:02:2015

‘For academic law libraries with collection interests in aboriginal law, this title is an essential addition.’

Mary Hemmings, Law Library Journal vol 106:04:2014

‘On Being Here to Stay is a thought provoking read. Michael Asch provides a different perspective on treaty relations not found in most law-oriented texts.’

Jon Ponath, Saskatchewan Law Review vol 78:2015

Canada Prize in the Social Sciences awarded by Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Canada) - Winner in 2015
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