New book calls into question non-Indigenous rights to land
- EFN Staff | April 28, 2019
It may have taken more than a century and a dedicated researcher but author Sheldon Krasowski says an important fact has been revealed about Canada.
A controversial new book released by the UR Press promises to end the Treaty debate over land surrender.
Sheldon Krasowski’s “No Surrender: The Land Remains Indigenous” takes a close look at the numbered Treaties on the Prairies. His findings will come as no surprise to indigenous oral historians, but will stun most Canadians.
“Basically, what I am saying is, ‘Non-Indigenous people have no right to the land,’” he said.
The former professor, now research analyst, spent about a decade researching and another five years or so to get his PhD dissertation published.
Kraswoski already had a background in Indigenous Studies, so when selecting a research topic for his doctorate he decided to do something that interested him like the Treaties.
“I thought I would take a look at Treaties from a fresh perspective,” said Krasowski.
Dr Winona Wheeler was his supervisor and when he embarked on his journey, she gave him some advice.
“Before you read any of the written record, before you read any of the Treaty Commissioner’s reports or the department of Indian Affairs reports, she said, look at the indigenous oral histories first,” said Krasowski.
Although it was time consuming it was the best advice he could have received.
Krasowski spent about a year studying the oral history of Treaties 1 through 7, as well as, speaking to elders from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.
What struck him was the “incredible consistency” of the stories of Treaty.
Krasowski said in transcribed historical documents indigenous people have maintained that they never surrendered the land, but rather agreed to share it.
He applied that argument to historical text and was amazed at what he discovered.
Ten years of research revealed the elders and the oral history was correct.
What Krasowski uncovered next could very well shake the foundation on which Canada was built.
“Canada and the Treaty Commissioner were able to mislead the chiefs and the indigenous peoples by basically not even mentioning land surrender,” he said. “What I saw in the historical records was blatant. It was like, ‘We are not going to talk about land. We are going to just talk about the benefits of treaty. We are not going to talk about land surrender. We are going to keep the written Treaty document hidden until the end and then we’re going to sneak that surrender clause through.’”
Krasowski knew this new information needed to be made available to the public, but it wouldn't be easy.
That’s when he turned to UR Press.
He said the whole team was very helpful and helped get the seven peer reviews needed to get the book published.
An official launch was held in March and since the release the first 1,000 copies have sold out and it’s on its second printing.
“No Surrender: The Land Remains Indigenous” can be purchased online through McNally Robinson, Chapters and at other local bookstores.
Despite dedicating 15 years of his life committed to this research, Krasowski is ready to start it all over again, This time he plans to study the northern Treaties, so that all 11 numbered Treaties are covered.