In the summer of 1760, ten months after the fall of Quebec City, British forces under the command of General Amherst were converging on Montreal, which would capitulate to the British by early September. Somehow Amherst had managed to break the complex network of French-Native alliances on which New France relied. In this study, historian Denis Vaugeois shows how a simple "safe-conduct" that allowed the Huron of Lorette to return to their village near Quebec was, 230 years later, given the force and significance of a treaty in the Supreme Court of Canada's 1990 Sioui decision. Vaugeois sets the context by reviewing the important events of the Seven Years War and then examines the train of events between the fall of Quebec and that of Montreal in detail. He looks at the same events from three different perspectives - as empirical facts, in their legal interpretation, and as the subject of debates by historians. The result is a detective story with unexpected twists and surprising revelations. It also sheds light on how, since the 1982 patriation of the constitution, Canadian courts have become a formidable tool for Natives in asserting their rights.
It examines the extent to which this creates two categories of citizen and poses a threat to the foundations of Canadian society.