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Harvey Feit James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement Collection
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1951-2002, predominant 1972-1987 (Creation)
- Feit, Harvey
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10.5 m of textual records
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Name of creator
Harvey Feit is professor emeritus in McMaster University’s Department of Anthropology. A major focus of Feit’s research is his work with Eeyou (Cree) peoples in Eeyou Istchee (primarily Northern Québec), particularly around the creation and implementation of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA).
Feit was born in 1941. He pursued graduate studies in anthropology at McGill University, receiving an M.A. in 1969 and a Ph.D. in 1979. Feit’s research on Eeyou hunters led him to work closely with Eeyou communities on various ethnographic projects and, eventually, the negotiation and implementation of the JBNQA, which was the first major land claim agreement and treaty between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada since the early 20th century. From 1972-1987, Feit served as expert witness in the court case preceding the signing of the JBNQA (Chief Robert Kanatewat et al. vs. JBDC, JBEC et al. in Québec Superior Court, 1973) and worked as a researcher, program and policy developer, and advisor with Eeyou negotiators and government bodies. A project of particular significance that Feit contributed to during this time was an income security program to sustain Eeyou families living on the land.
Feit was assistant professor at Carleton University (1972-1975) and McGill University (1975-1978). In 1981, he took up a full-time position at McMaster. In 1992, he assisted in founding the Indigenous Studies Program at the university. Feit also became a member of the adjunct graduate faculty in the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent University. In 2001, he was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Feit’s research has appeared in two co-edited volumes and over 75 book chapters, journal articles, reports, and expert affidavits and testimonies. Major themes in his research include colonialism and its effects, Indigenous self-governance, the basic income program for Eeyou families, and subsistence hunting.
Scope and content
The collection reflects Harvey Feit’s work with Eeyou (Cree) governments and communities in Eeyou Istchee (primarily Northern Québec), particularly around the creation and implementation of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. The collection consists of the following: academic papers; reports, correspondence, and meeting minutes from Eeyou negotiators and governments; legal records, including factums and transcripts of witness testimonies for various court cases; and news clippings.
Immediate source of acquisition
Acquired from Harvey Feit in April 2017.
The first accrual comprises five series: Pre-JBNQA Activism and Court Cases; JBNQA Creation and Negotiation; JBNQA Implementation; Files on Legal Claims of Indigenous Peoples (Non-Eeyou); and Maps.
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Restrictions on access
McMaster University Library recognizes the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee’s traditional and sacred connection with this collection. As such, McMaster University Library and Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute (ACCI) have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding access to this collection. Access restrictions have been placed on files listed in the List of embargoed files. Researchers interested in viewing embargoed files must submit a written request to Archives & Research Collections; this request will be reviewed by ACCI.
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Further accruals are expected.
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
G. Dunks, 2023.