Song of the earth : the life of Alfred Joseph

Published 2019
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When your culture is banned and your land and resources stolen, it takes a special individual not only to survive but to thrive. Grounded in the wisdom of his elders, Gisdewe Alfred Joseph wove respect, kindness and courage into his years of service to the Witsuwit'en people of northwest British Columbia. As artist, teacher, chief band councilor, house chief and a lead plaintiff in Delgamuukw-Gisdewe-- one of the most important Aboriginal title cases in Canada-- Alfred relied on the lessons he learned as a boy to deal with a pervasive colonial reality. In Song of the Earth, Ross Hoffman opens the feast hall doors, throwing light on what the Witsuwit'en have lost and what they have preserved since settlers came to their lands. Written in collaboration with Alfred Joseph, Song of the Earth brings us inside the heart and mind of a man who grew up in the heart of Witsuwit'en culture and lived to see it transformed. But he was no passive observer; he initiated and participated in legal battles that have reshaped how Canada addresses its colonial past and struggles to find ways to reconcile with Indigenous nations. In the face of current Witsuwit'en attempts to block pipeline construction across their territories in northwestern BC, this book provides insight into the people standing up for the rights that Canadian courts have affirmed.

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