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Ampersand Indigenous Books

Truth and Conviction
Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice
By (author): L. Jane McMillan



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Aug 15, 2021
$29.95 CAD


9in x 6 x 0.6 in | 360 gr

Page Count:

230 pages


12 b&w photos, 1 map
UBC Press
LAW / Indigenous Peoples
Atlantic Book Awards, Atlantic Book Awards and Festival 2020, Winner
  • Short Description
A passionate account of how one man’s fight against racism and injustice transformed the criminal justice system and galvanized the Mi’kmaw Nation’s struggle for self-determination, forever changing the landscape of Indigenous rights in Canada and around the world.
The name “Donald Marshall Jr.” is synonymous with “wrongful conviction” and the fight for Indigenous rights in Canada. In Truth and Conviction, Jane McMillan – Marshall’s former partner, an acclaimed anthropologist, and an original defendant in the Supreme Court’s Marshall decision – tells the story of how Marshall’s life-long battle against injustice permeated Canadian legal consciousness and revitalized Indigenous law. Marshall died in 2009, but his legacy lives on. Mi’kmaq continue to assert their rights and build justice programs grounded in customary laws and practices, key steps in the path to self-determination and reconciliation.

L. Jane McMillan is the former Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Peoples and Sustainable Communities and chair of the Department of Anthropology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A former eel fisher and one of the original defendants in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Marshall decision (1999), she has worked with Mi’kmaw communities for over twenty years, conducting ethnographic research, developing policy, and advocating for Indigenous and treaty rights and for community-based justice.

Jane McMillian has written an admirable, engaging, and formidable book about an Indigenous man’s quest for justice against the systemic injustices of Canada. - Sákéj Henderson, Research Fellow, Native Law Centre of Canada, University of Saskatchewan

This book offers powerful, insightful, and intimate insights into Mi’kmaw law and lifeways. It contains a perfect mix of stories, context, history, and analysis. It is just what I need to understand and be able to teach law in more nuanced ways. - John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria

Jane McMillan’s close account of Donald Marshall’s subjection to racism and mistreatment serves as a point of reference for wider reflections about constitutional protections, treaty rights, and the promise of Indigenous self-governance. Her work is meticulously, even intimately researched, driven by an abiding and controlled sense of indignation, and narrated with deep empathy. Unless you are already on the front lines of justice reform, this book will change the way you think about Indigenous rights and criminal justice in Canada. - Ronald Niezen, Canada Research Chair in the Comparative Study of Indigenous Rights and Identity, Faculty of Law and Arts, McGill University

Truth and Conviction tells the story of Donald Marshall Jr., his impact on criminal justice and treaty rights, and the ongoing struggle of the Mi’kmaq to have their own laws and justice system. It also tells the story of the author herself, a settler with deep connections within the Mi’kmaw Nation. McMillan’s experiences have given her many thoughtful insights into what is needed to achieve meaningful reconciliation in the country – especially for those living in Mi’kma’ki. - Naiomi Metallic, Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

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