Fonds F0568 - William Wicken fonds

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William Wicken fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Sound recording

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Physical description

1.4 m of textual records
14 compact discs
7 diskettes : 4.4 MB of textual records
6 audio cassettes

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

William Craig Wicken studied history at McGill University, earning a B.A. in 1983, a M.A. in 1985, and a Ph.D. in 1994 for his thesis, "Encounters with tall sails and tall tales : Mi'kmaq society, 1500-1760." His doctorate led to employment as a contract researcher with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1993, and from 1993 to 1995 as a researcher with the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research Centre in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, on the Aboriginal Title Project that was established by the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians. Wicken was appointed an Assistant Professor with York University's Department of History in 1996, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000. His knowledge of Mi'kmaq society and land treaties led to the frequent engagement of his services since 1995 to prepare historical reports and affidavits, and to testify as an expert witness in several legal cases in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland involving commercial fishing, moose hunting, selling tobacco without charging federal taxes, and harvesting and selling timber from Crown lands. He has reported on this work through conference presentations, articles in scholarly journals and books, and his monograph, "Mi'kmaq treaties on trial : history, land and Donald Marshall Junior" (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), winner of the Canadian Historical Association's annual Clio Award for the best book on Atlantic Canada.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of project files created by William Wicken through his work as researcher and expert witness in projects and legal cases involving Mi'kmaq treaties, and their rights to hunt, fish, and trade. The files include correspondence with counsel for the Crown and the defense, reports on Mi'kmaq society and land treaties based on original research using archival and published documents, legal and historical opinions on the interpretion of treaties and unexhausted rights under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, and reproductions of documents used in provincial and appeal courts in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Some files deal with issues of governance, and negotiations with the federal departments of Indian and Northern Affairs, and Fisheries and Oceans. Other files contain information on aboriginal title research involving the Mi'kmaq of Gaspe and Prince Edward Island. The fonds also includes Wicken's research notebooks from 1994 to 2002, and his daily appointment books from 1993 to 2007. The fonds offers considerable information on research into aboriginal land titles in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, and the major role played by professional historians in addressing issues of legal rights and cultural identities.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by William Wicken in 2010.


Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

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The majority of the records are in English, with some documents in French.

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No restrictions on access.

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The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2010-004. Further accruals may be expected.

General note

Finding aid may contain language from the era in which it was written. This includes historical, unclear, or biased terminology which may not have been selected by Indigenous peoples. To learn more about historical and contemporary terminology, see resources listed at

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2011/03/28 Michael Moir:. Description based on contents of fonds (Creation)
2011/03/28 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2011/04/11 Michael Moir. Revision to biographical sketch.
2011/04/11 Michael Moir. Added URL for finding aid.
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM.
2019/04/03 KCP. Post-migration metadata clean-up. Addition of GMD and accession numbers. Published description and generated finding aid.
2020/03/26 KCP, N. Somerset. Added subject access points.
2020/10/28 KCP. Added historical language note.

Language of description

  • English


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