Hunger, Horses and Government Men: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905
Available in the Osgoode Hall Law School Library
Scholars often accept without question that Canada's Indian Act (1876) criminalized First Nations. In this illuminating book, Shelley Gavigan argues that the notion of criminalization captures neither the complexities of Aboriginal participation in the courts nor the significance of the Indian Act as a form of law.
Gavigan uses records of ordinary cases from the lower courts and insights from critical criminology and traditional legal history to interrogate state formation and criminal law in the Saskatchewan region of the North-West Territories between 1870 and 1905. By focusing on Aboriginal people's participation in the courts rather than on narrow legal categories such as "the state" and "the accused," Gavigan allows Aboriginal defendants, witnesses, and informants to emerge in vivid detail and tell the story in their own terms. Their experiences -- captured in court files, police and penitentiary records, and newspaper accounts -- reveal that the criminal law and theIndian Act operated in complex and contradictory ways.
By showing that the criminal courts were as likely to include acts of mediation as coercion,Hunger, Horses, and Government Men takes the study of criminal law and criminalization in a new direction, one that challenges conventional wisdom and popular images of relations of power and discrimination in the courts.
Indians of North America--Criminal justice system--History; Canada. Indian Act; 1876; Indigenous peoples--Legal status; laws; etc.; Indigenous peoples--Government relations; Criminal justice, Administration of--History; Criminal law--History; Criminal courts--History; Saskatchewan
Criminal Law | Indigenous, Indian, and Aboriginal Law | Legal History
Gavigan, Shelley A. M., "Hunger, Horses and Government Men: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905" (2012). Books. 2.