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Book Review


Can we reject a monstrous act without rejecting the actor as a monster? This is the question occupying Hadley Louise Friedland, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Alberta, in The Wetiko Legal Principles: Cree and Anishinabek Responses to Violence and Victimization. Speaking broadly, the book is dedicated to identifying and examining Indigenous laws for guidance on how Indigenous communities can deal with high rates of interpersonal violence in Indigenous communities today, particularly violence against children. The innovation in Friedland’s work is her creative use of source material: She takes as her starting point traditional Cree and Anishinabek stories about wetikos, or cannibal giants, which she positions as vestibules of Indigenous law. In Friedland’s view, wetiko stories contain legal principles and practical resources that can help First Nations manage community members who act violently toward others. It is her task, as a scholar, to examine those stories through a legal lens and mine them for solutions to a rarely acknowledged problem.

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