Two Families

Treaties and Government

Harold Johnson

  • $20.00s paperback (9781895830293) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: January 2017
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies; Law
  • Bibliographic information: 160 pp., 16 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Kiciwamanawak, my cousin: that is what my Elders said to call you. You have a treaty right to occupy and use this territory. You received that right when my family adopted yours.

So begins Harold Johnson's narrative on the relationship between First Nations, governments, and society in general. Writing in response to a student asking him what the treaties mean, Johnson presents a different view of the treaty relationship. Treaties were the instruments that gave Europeans the right to settle here, share resources, and build a relationship of equality with those who were here before. Johnson's ancestors did not intend the treaties to allow the subjugation and impoverishment of First Nations, or give settler governments the right to legislate every aspect of First Nations activities.

In an easy to read style, the author presents his eloquent view, on behalf of a people, on what treaties between First Nations and governments represent. Topics discussed include the justice system, reconciliation of laws, political divisions, resources, taxation, assimilation, leadership, sovereignty, the Constitution, youth, and relations between next generations. Two Families is a passionate plea for the restoration of harmony and equality between First Nations and the rest of Canadian society. It is a must read for everyone seeking to understand an Aboriginal perspective on treaties.
Harold Johnson practices law in La Ronge, northern Saskatchewan, and balances this with operating his family's traditional trap line using a dog team. He has served in the Canadian Navy, and worked in mining and logging before returning to school. He holds a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a master's degree in law from Harvard. He is also the author of two novels, Billy Tinker and Backtrack, both set in northern Saskatchewan against a background of traditional Cree mythology.

"As Chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, I endorse the writing of Harold Johnson. His use of the inclusive Kiciwamanawak in the discussion formally introduces him as the speaker for for all of us to all of you."
-Chief Lionel Bird
Map: Area of Treaty No. 6 and Adhesion thereto

1. My Family
2. Your Family
3. The Adoption of Your Family by My Family
4. Your Family's Justice System
5. Reconciliation of Laws
6. Political Divisions
7. Resources
8. Taxation
9. Assimilation
10. Leadership
11. Sovereignty
12. Your Constitution
13. Youth
14. Next Generation

Appendix A. Treaty No. 6
Appendix B. Adhesion by Cree Indians


"While initially it may appear to be a strange addition to a law library, this slender text should be required reading for anyone working in aboriginal law or treaty interpretation."
-Patrick Fawcett, Canadian Law Library Review