This essay examines my work as expert witness in the case of U.S. v. Michigan, a Indigenous use-rights case. I was charged with parsing the intention of a specific article of the 1836 Treaty of Washington compelling land cession by Anishinaabe peoples and with writing a history of land use in the area from that date to the present for the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (my employer). The challenges were not only methodological (how do you estimate use from ownership?) and epistemological (what constitutes proof that will satisfy both historians and lawyers?), but also sociological and psychological: what happens when an associate professor puts her progress toward full professor on hold for the sake of a court case?
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