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Elder Brother and the Law of the People

Contemporary Kinship and Cowessess First Nation

Robert Alexander Innes (author)

ISBN: 9780887552243

Publication Date: Sep 2019

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

Offers an analysis of the role of Elder Brother stories in kinship practices in Cowessess First Nation, located in Saskatchewan. Robert Innes reveals how these tradition-inspired practices act to undermine legal and scholarly definitions of "Indian" and counter the perception that First Nations people have internalized such classifications.
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  • Full Description
  • More Information
  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
  • Customer Reviews
In the pre-reserve era, Aboriginal bands in the northern plains were relatively small multicultural communities that actively maintained fluid and inclusive membership through traditional kinship practices. These practices were governed by the Law of the People as described in the traditional stories of Wîsashkêcâhk, or Elder Brother, that outlined social interaction, marriage, adoption, and kinship roles and responsibilities.

In Elder Brother and the Law of the People, Robert Innes offers a detailed analysis of the role of Elder Brother stories in historical and contemporary kinship practices in Cowessess First Nation, located in southeastern Saskatchewan. He reveals how these tradition-inspired practices act to undermine legal and scholarly definitions of "Indian" and counter the perception that First Nations people have internalized such classifications. He presents Cowessess's successful negotiation of the 1996 Treaty Land Agreement and their high inclusion rate of new "Bill-C31s" as evidence of the persistence of historical kinship values and their continuing role as the central unifying factor for band membership.

Elder Brother and the Law of the People presents an entirely new way of viewing Aboriginal cultural identity on the northern plains.
Pages 256
Dimensions 229 x 152 x 16
Date Published 30 Sep 2019
Publisher University of Manitoba Press
Series Critical Studies in Native History
Subject/s History of the Americas   Indigenous peoples   Oral history   Spirituality & religious experience  
  • Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Elder Brother as Cultural Hero: The Law of the People and Contemporary Customary Kinship
  • Chapter 2: A Historical View of the Iron Alliance
  • Chapter 3: Multicultural Bands on the Northern Plains and the Notion of 'Tribal' Histories
  • Chapter 4: The Multicultural Compositon of Cowessess First Nation
  • Chapter 5: Cowessess Band Members and the Importance of Family Ties
  • Chapter 6: First Nations Response to Membership: Bill C-31 and Cowessess First Nation
  • Chapter 7: Implementing Treaty Obligations in Saskatchewan: Cowessess First Nation and Treaty Land Entitlement
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgements
  • Index
Robert Alexander Innes is a Plains Cree member of Cowessess First Nation. He holds a PhD in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and is an Assistant Professor in the department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

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