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About the Book

Colin Gillespie’s latest book explores the history, culture and laws of an indigenous people whose traditional territory lies astride one of the largest hydroelectric energy stores in the world. The story follows students and Elders as they breathe new life into Pimicikamak governance. Beset by 140 years of genocide, they focus on survival. Seeking to “heal the land, heal the people, heal the nation” they find hope in new relationships.

Essential Education

Portrait of a People examines the historical events and legal struggles surrounding the Pimicikamak people’s survival for centuries. A story of both failures and successes, it is an essential part of every education. At the same time, the detail and use of primary sources makes it of value for academic readers.

Corporate Governance

Facing an ongoing existential crisis, the Pimicikamak people is now writing some of the rules. Displacing federally-imposed band government, its consensus-based governance offers a constructive path for relations with indigenous peoples in their traditional territories. Much is at stake.

Cross-cultural Dialogue

Portrait provides a foundation for a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship. Pimicikamak culture draws on 10,000 years’ wisdom to adapt and survive in the modern world. There is much for all to learn by reaching across the cultural divide.

Reviewers on Portrait

“The book begins with genocide. It ends with hope. Maybe I will see the begin-ning of real reconciliation in my lifetime. It was an emotional moment to read that last page.”
Paul Barnsley, APTN Executive Producer

“Provides an easy to read survey of Court decisions that confirm that Indigenous laws have not been extin-guished … covers a lot of legal territory but the grandmother, exercising ancient law, brings the story of survival home.”
Louise Mandell, Q.C.

“I learned a lot about the Pimicikamak people from this book that I did not know and that’s a concern to me.”
Victor H Schroeder, Q.C. Former Chair, Manitoba Hydro

“Argues systematically and powerfully for the continued existence of the Pimicikamak people … slowly recovering the practice of their inherent right of self-government and cultural continuity.”
Professor Allen Mills, University of Winnipeg

“A great introduction [to] Canadian laws that make things harder for indigenous peoples … stories that need to be told.”
Adeline Bird, Author & Producer

Contact: Howard Gurevich