ANTIGONISH, N.S. - A launch event for Jane McMillan’s new book – Truth and Conviction: Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi'kmaw Quest for Justice – will take place Feb. 1 at the People’s Place Library in Antigonish.
The launch event will go from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the community room.
McMillan, talking to the Casket Jan. 18, said the exact agenda for the launch wasn’t determined at that point but she expects there will be a couple of speakers, as well as herself, talking about the book.
In noting it is being held downtown, at the People’s Place, McMillan, chair of the Anthropology Department at St. F.X., said the book isn’t “an academic text.”
“This is, hopefully, a book which will reach a broad audience,” she said. “Much of the work we do as anthropologists, and as anthropologists working with indigenous communities; the work really wants to engage community, so one of the ways is to use the community room as the place [for the launch].”
There will be copies at the launch for purchase. The book can also be purchased at the St. F.X. Bookstore, Coles, Bookmark and online through Amazon and publisher UBC Press.
“They took really good care of me,” McMillan said of the publisher.
“I’m really grateful to Randy Schmidt, Lesley Erickson and all of the people at the press. Holly Keller led the team at UBC who put it all together.”
The book has been out for a couple of months now and McMillan said the reception has been positive and supportive.
“I’m really encouraged by the variety of people who are expressing an interest in it and are finding it illuminating; it’s such an important set of stories,” she said.
“I think people like knowing the whole story because it’s the intersection of the wrongful conviction and the fishing decision, and his personal story. It’s that weaving together of those to capture who he was and the challenges; the unbelievable and horrific challenges he had to face and the strength he drew on for that.”
McMillan said while the hope was for the book to have been completed earlier than now, a 2019 launch actually works to mark a few significant anniversaries.
“This year, as it turns out, this wasn’t planned at all, but it will be the 10th anniversary of his passing and the 20th anniversary of the Marshall Decision by the Supreme Court for fishing,” she said. “This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the Royal Commission on the Marshall Inquiry, the reports from that commission.
“It’s a long and complicated story, it’s a personal story but it’s a very public story, so trying to navigate that in a way that was, mostly, to honour the legacy of Donald Marshall, was a great challenge,” she added, referencing the time it took to complete the book.