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In 1973, the Supreme Court's historic Calder decision on the Nisga'a community's title suit in British Columbia launched the Native rights litigation era in Canada. Legal claims have raised questions with significant historical implications, such as, "What treaty rights have survived in various parts of Canada? What is the scope of Aboriginal title? Who are the Metis, where do they live, and what is the nature of their culture and their rights?" Arthur Ray's extensive knowledge in the history of the fur trade and Native economic history brought him into the courts as an expert witness in the mid-1980s. For over twenty-five years he has been a part of landmark litigation concerning treaty rights, Aboriginal title, and Metis rights.
In Telling It to the Judge, Ray recalls lengthy courtroom battles over lines of evidence, historical interpretation, and philosophies of history, reflecting on the problems inherent in teaching history in the adversarial courtroom setting. Told with charm and based on extensive experience, Telling It to the Judge is a unique narrative of courtroom strategy in the effort to obtain constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights.