Treaties Recognition Week; Books and Media

In light of Treaties Recognition Week, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives has put together this list of works to help us understand our responsibilities as settlers while researching, learning, teaching, and living on the Haldimand Tract and across Turtle Island. This list consists of foundational works that lay out historical context of treaty rights and sovereignty that are local to the areas in which Wilfrid Laurier University is situated on.

Learn more about Protect the Tract. Also learn more about Social Justice in Solidarity Week.


Susan M. Hill. The Clay We Are Made Of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River. University of Manitoba Press, 2017.

This book offers a national and community history of the Six Nations of the Grand River. It retells Haudenosaunee history in a way that centres Haudenosaunee perspectives in the context of Canadian settler colonialism. Readers will find a history of stretching from Haudenosaunee epics to first contact with Europeans in the Haudenosaunee homeland to the Revolutionary War and the nation’s re-establishment on the Grand River, and land surrenders of the 1840s. Hill integrates Haudenosaunee epics and oral history with archival research. This book won the Best First Book (Native American and Indigenous Studies Association), the Aboriginal History Group Book Prize (Canadian Historical Association), and the Ontario Clio Prize (Canadian Historical Association).

Theresa McCarthy. In Divided Unity: Haudenosaunee Reclamation at Grand River. The University of Arizona Press, 2016.

This book explores community-based initiatives that promote Haudenosaunee traditionalism and languages at Six Nations of the Grand River as crucial enactments of sovereignty both historically and in the present. Its starting point is the February 2006 Six Nations occupation of a 132-acre construction site in Caledonia, Ontario. McCarthy critiques settler colonial narratives of Haudenosaunee decline used to rationalize land theft and political subjugation. It illustrates how current efforts to discredit the reclamation of land continue to draw on flawed characterizations of Haudenosaunee tradition, factionalism, and “failed” self-government popularized by conventional scholarship about the Iroquois.

Arthur Manuel and Ronald M. Derrickson. Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call. Between the Lines, 2015.

Unsettling Canada is a grassroots analysis of the inner workings of Canadian policy, law, and economics from the perspective of Arthur Manuel’s lifetime of resistance to settler colonialism at the local, national, and international levels. Since its publication, this book has served as essential reading on syllabi in university classrooms nationwide. In 2016, the Canadian Historical Association awarded it the Canadian Aboriginal Book Prize. The book challenges the very basis of Canadian sovereignty, calling attention to the government’s failure to recognize Aboriginal title and to outstanding debts owed to Indigenous Peoples.

Arthur Manuel and Ronald M. Derrickson. The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy. James Lorimer & Company, Ltd., Publishers, 2017.

Co-authored by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, this book demonstrates how attempts at reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples fundamentally fail to dismantle the colonial structures that dominate the relationship. The book lucidly illustrates the current state of land claims, the persistence of racism among non-Indigenous people and institutions, and the federal government’s disregard for the substance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In contrast, both offer a vision of what is needed for true reconciliation.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. University of Minnesota Press, 2021.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson locates Indigenous political resurgence as a practice rooted in uniquely Indigenous theorizing, writing, organizing, and thinking. She makes clear that the goal of Indigenous resistance can no longer be cultural resurgence as a mechanism for inclusion in a multicultural mosaic, calling for unapologetic, place-based Indigenous alternatives to the destructive logics of the settler colonial state.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence. ARP Books, 2011.

Simpson asserts reconciliation must be grounded in political resurgence and must support the regeneration of Indigenous languages, oral cultures, and traditions of governance. Simpson explores philosophies and pathways of regeneration, resurgence, and a new emergence through the Nishnaabeg language, Creation Stories, walks with Elders and children, celebrations and protests, and meditations on these experiences. She stresses the importance of illuminating Indigenous intellectual traditions to transform their relationship to the Canadian state.


Arthur Manuel. “Aboriginal Rights as Economic Rights: Whose Land is Canada Selling?” Osgoode Hall Law School. 2017.

Dr. Dawn Martin-Hill. “Sewatokwa’tshera’t - The Dish With One Spoon.” Ohneganos Ohnegahde:gyo. 2021.

Theresa McCarthy, Alexandra Minna Stern, and Lyndsey Stonebridge. “Unsettled Citizens: Citizens on the Move.” Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. 2019.

Kahsenniyo Performs a Poem Reckoning with the Wounds of Colonialism and Breaking Cycles of Trauma.” CBC Arts. 2021.

Rick Hill. “Treaty Relations and Two Row Companion – Coversations in Cultural Fluency.” Six Nations Plytechnic. 2016.