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Who Controls the Hunt?: First Nations, Treaty Rights, and Wildlife Conservation in Ontario, 1783-1939


Series: Nature, History, Society Series

By: David Calverley(Author), Graeme Wynn(Foreword By)

224 pages, 1 map

University of British Columbia Press

Paperback | Sep 2018 | #244671 | ISBN-13: 9780774831345
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $32/€28 approx
Hardback | Feb 2018 | #238736 | ISBN-13: 9780774831338
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £71.99 $94/€82 approx

About this book

As the nineteenth century ended, Ontario wildlife became increasingly valuable. Tourists and sport hunters spent growing amounts of money in their search for game, and the government began to extend and exert its regulatory powers in this arena.

Who Controls the Hunt? examines how Ontario's emerging wildlife conservation laws reconciled – or failed to reconcile – First Nations treaty rights and the power of the state. David Calverley traces the political and legal arguments prompted by the interplay of treaty rights, provincial and dominion government interests, and the corporate concerns of the Hudson's Bay Company. As the Ontario government imposed new restrictions on hunting and trapping, it developed an at times contentious relationship with the Department of Indian Affairs. And it completely ignored the Ojibwa hunting rights set out in the Robinson Treaties of 1850.

Indigenous resource use remains a politically and legally significant topic in Canada. Some aspects of First Nations hunting rights have been settled, but questions about species conservation and environmental protection continue to arise. While Who Controls the Hunt? has a regional focus, this nuanced examination of the resource issues at stake, the constitutional questions, the impact of conservation paradigms, and historical factors particular to First Nations has national relevance.

Who Controls the Hunt? will find an audience among scholars, students, and lawyers with an interest in Canadian Indigenous history, Canadian law, Indigenous policy, and environmental history.

"Who Controls the Hunt? is a valuable case study to which readers can bring as much as they take – and one I will remember each spring as we gather up the rods, the regulations, and the resident and non-resident permits we need to spend another season on the water."
– Darcy Ingram, Selkirk College, Network in Canadian History and Environment

"By tracing a particular set of struggles to reconcile First Nations' conceptions of land, society, and treaty rights with the power of the (liberal) state through a century or so, Who Controls the Hunt? does much to reveal the ambiguities of liberalism as a political and social ideology – even as it reminds us why this matters for Canadians (and many others) in the twenty-first century."
– Graeme Wynn, from the Foreword

"This book breaks new ground with its focus on wildlife conservation and Indigenous communities in Ontario, a surprisingly understudied area. The author's exemplary archival work also sheds new light on the conflict between the federal government's treaty obligations toward First Nations and a provincial government determined to restrict wildlife harvesting. Who Controls the Hunt? is essential reading for anybody interested in Indigenous history, legal history, and the politics of wildlife conservation in Canada."
– John Sandlos, Department of History, Memorial University of Newfoundland


Foreword / Graeme Wynn

1 First Nations Hunting Activity in Upper Canada and the Robinson Treaties, 1783–1850
2 Ontario’s Game Laws and First Nations, 1800–1905
3 First Nations, the Game Commission, and Indian Affairs, 1892–1909
4 Traders, Trappers, and Bureaucrats: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Wildlife Conservation in Ontario, 1892–1916
5 The Transitional Indian: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Game Act, 1914–20
6 R. v. Padjena: Local Pressure and Treaty Hunting Rights in Ontario, 1925–31
7 R. v. Commanda, 1937–39


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David Calverley received his PhD from the University of Ottawa. He has been teaching history in Toronto since 2002. He has published and continues to research in the area of hunting and treaty rights and the Aboriginal treaties of Ontario.

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