Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice

Begade Shutagot’ine and the Sahtu Treaty

Peter Kulchyski (Author)

A Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice chronicles Peter Kulchyski’s experiences with the Begade Shuhtagot’ine, a small community of a few hundred people living in and around Tulita (formerly Fort Norman), on the Mackenzie River in the heart of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Despite their formal objections and boycott of the agreement, the band and their lands were included in the Sahtu treaty, a modern comprehensive land claims agreement negotiated between the Government of Canada and the Sahtu Tribal Council, representing Dene and Metis peoples of the region. While both Treaty Eleven (1921) and the Sahtu Treaty (1994) purport to extinguish Begade Shuhtagot’ine Aboriginal title, oral history and documented attempts to exclude themselves from treaty strongly challenge the validity of that extinguishment.

Structured as a series of briefs to an inquiry into the Begade Shutagot’ine’s claim, this manuscript documents the negotiation and implementation of the Sahtu treaty and amasses evidence of historical and continued presence and land use to make eminently clear that the Begade Shuhtagot’ine are the continued owners of the land by law: they have not extinguished title to their traditional territories; they continue to exercise their customs, practices, and traditions on those territories; and they have a fundamental right to be consulted on, and refuse or be compensated for, development projects on those territories. Kulchyski bears eloquent witness to the Begade Shuhtagot’ine people’s two-decade struggle for land rights, which have been blatantly ignored by federal and territorial authorities for too long.

Reviews

Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice is engaging, warm, passionate, and an important critique of the land claims process in northern Canada. Kulchyski deftly weaves an academic, personal, and often poetic narrative in the way only a seasoned, confident scholar can.”

– Thomas McIlwraith, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Guelph

About the Author

Peter Kulchyski grew up in northern Manitoba and was one of the few non-Aboriginal students to attend a government-run residential high school. He has a PhD from York University and is a senior Canadian scholars in Native Studies. He is the co-editor of In the Words of the Elders: Aboriginal Cultures in Transition and co-author of Tammarniitt [Mistakes]: Inuit Relocation in the Eastern Arctic, which won the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize of the American Society for Ethnohistory. He is the head of the department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.

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