An article written by Dalhousie law professor Naiomi Metallic (Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation). The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom looms large in our national identity. As a constitutional law professor at a Canadian law school, my experience is that most students and lawyers see the Charter as intrinsically tied to fundamental notions of justice and fairness in our country. Because of this, Canadian lawyers and judges, who believe the Charter to be inherently good, may find it hard to understand why Indigenous peoples resist application of the Charter to their own institutions. But Canadian jurists’ attachment to the Charter, if not kept in check, can easily lead to dismissing important objections to its application to Indigenous peoples. I believe both the Yukon Supreme Court (“YKSC”) and the Court of Appeal (“YKCA”) fell prey to this trap in their reasons in Dickson v Vuntut Gwitchin.
Teaching Indigenous peoples’ own law in Canadian law schools presents significant challenges and opportunities. Materials can be organized in conventional or innovative ways. This article explores how law professors and others might best teach Indigenous peoples’ law.
A special issue of the McGill Law Journal grappling with issues surrounding Indigenous law and legal pluralism. Today, questions around the need to engage with Indigenous law have given way to an emerging consensus that extends far beyond the legal academy. Law schools and law societies increasingly recognize the importance of teaching and making space for Indigenous law. The Supreme Court of Canada has explicitly required that courts account for Indigenous law when adjudicating Aboriginal title claims. And the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued numerous calls to action pertaining to Indigenous law in its recently published final report. If it is no longer controversial to assert the relevance of Indigenous legal orders, however, there is significant divergence on where we go from here. In other words, the debate has shifted from why Indigenous law matters to how it should be taught, recognized, interpreted, and understood.
A handful of scholars have examined sex, gender, and sexuality in relation to Indigenous laws; yet their work is infrequently taken up in the field, and there is a broader need for conversations about what it means to "queer" Indigenous legal studies. In this paper, I centre and examine work that contributes to this queering so as to promote inclusive critical legal education and engagement. I also discuss the implications of not attending to sexuality and develop preliminary propositions for queering Indigenous legal studies.
With the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, which stressed the revitalization of Indigenous legal traditions is essential to reconciliation, we are potentially at the cusp of a historical turning point in Canada. As momentum around the revitalization of Indigenous laws grows, this raises many important questions for the future. Can we collectively imagine a Canada where Indigenous law is integrated and in use? What would, or should, this respectful relationship look like? This article explores these questions through narrative. Narrative, as many Indigenous and non-Indigenous thinkers have identified, has unique capacity to create space for conversations, spark imagination, and let us contemplate the incomprehensible. This article mindfully uses narrative as a means to vulnerably re-imagine a future relationship between Indigenous and other legal traditions in Canada.
Call Number: DAL Dunn Law Library Serials Collection and online
Publication Date: 2002
The Indigenous Law Journal is a student-run legal journal and the first and only Canadian legal journal to exclusively publish articles regarding Indigenous legal issues. Launched in 2002, the journal is dedicated to developing dialogue and scholarship in the field of Indigenous legal issues both in Canada and internationally. The journal publishes articles, notes, case comments, and reviews grounded in all areas of study pertaining to both the laws of indigenous peoples and the law as it affects indigenous peoples. Students, faculty, practitioners, and members of the judiciary are invited to submit papers. Submissions from all perspectives are encouraged as the Journal presents a non-partisan forum for discussion.
The journal publishes articles, notes, case comments, and reviews grounded in all areas of study pertaining to both the laws of indigenous peoples and the law as it affects indigenous peoples. Students, faculty, practitioners, and members of the judiciary are invited to submit papers. Submissions from all perspectives are encouraged as the Journal presents a non-partisan forum for discussion. The Indigenous Law Journal is now available exclusively online (though we may arrange for a limited print run in the future). Please access Volume 12-13 of ILJ at http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/ilj/index.
The Canadian Journal of Native Studies is a highly recognized journal in the field of Native Studies. It began as a publication of the Society for the Advancement of Native Studies which is no longer in operation and whose founder; Sam Corrigan; was the Chief Editor from 1981-2008. it comes out on a bi-annual basis, and publishes original research which is refereed by peer review. As a general focus, the journal publishes anthropological, historical, sociological, political, legal, education and cultural issues affecting First Nations people. Although the majority of articles deal with Indigenous peoples in Canada, it also publishes articles dealing with Indigenous peoples world-wide.
Call Number: DAL Dunn Law Library KB 79 .I6 P17 B57 2011
Publication Date: 2011
Author Pamela Palmater argues that the Indian Act’s registration provisions (status) will lead to the extinguishment of First Nations as legal and constitutional entities. The current status criteria contain descent-based rules akin to blood quantum that are particularly discriminatory against women and their descendants. Beginning with an historic overview of legislative enactments defining Indian status and their impact on First Nations, the author examines contemporary court rulings dealing with Aboriginal rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in relation to Indigenous identity. She also examines various band membership codes to determine how they affect Indigenous identity, and how their reliance on status criteria perpetuates discrimination. She offers suggestions for a better way of determining Indigenous identity and citizenship and argues that First Nations themselves must determine their citizenship based on ties to the community, not blood or status.
Canada's Indigenous Constitution reflects on the nature and sources of law in Canada, beginning with the conviction that the Canadian legal system has helped to engender the high level of wealth and security enjoyed by people across the country. However, longstanding disputes about the origins, legitimacy, and applicability of certain aspects of the legal system have led John Borrows to argue that Canada's constitution is incomplete without a broader acceptance of Indigenous legal traditions. With characteristic richness and eloquence, John Borrows explores legal traditions, the role of governments and courts, and the prospect of a multi-juridical legal culture, all with a view to understanding and improving legal processes in Canada. He discusses the place of individuals, families, and communities in recovering and extending the role of Indigenous law within both Indigenous communities and Canadian society more broadly. This is a major work by one of Canada's leading legal scholars, and an essential companion to Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide.
This book focused on decolonization of multiple justice-related areas, such as policing, the court system, prison, restorative justice, and the studies of law and criminology. This is quite likely one of the few student-led book projects in Canada covering the range of decolonization topics. Ten student authors explored the concept of decolonization in law, policing, prison, court, mental health, transitional justice and restorative justice. We are grateful to receive funding support from the University of Regina’s OER Publishing Program Small Project Grant, which enabled us to hire a professional copy editor for the book. This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Call Number: DAL Dunn Law Library Reports 2nd floor, Aisle 14
Publication Date: 2020
Stemming from the Indigenous Bar Association Conference held in 2018, this special edition of the Canadian Native Law Reporter features rewritten decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, now reimagined and issued from the “Indigenous Nations Court”. The creation of the fictitious Indigenous Nations Court stems from years of frustration felt by Indigenous peoples with the Supreme Court of Canada decisions written by judges who, due to their backgrounds and training in Canadian law, do not have sufficient understanding of the history and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples and the importance of having their jurisdiction and legal orders respected. To respond to such concerns, the Indigenous Nations Court is comprised of individuals felt to possess such knowledge.
Drawing on a decade of writing on justice and community-based responses to conflicts, this substantive book features 45 articles from community members, scholars, judges, lawyers, and Elders. Justice As Healing is now the main textbook in countless classes on Indigenous Studies as well as on restorative justice.
Call Number: DAL Dunn Law Library KB 79 .I6 B73 L42
Publication Date: 2019
This book examines the revitalization of Indigenous peoples’ relationship to their own laws and, in so doing, attempts to enrich Canadian constitutional law more generally. Organized around the seven Anishinaabe grandmother and grandfather teachings of love, truth, bravery, humility, wisdom, honesty, and respect, this book explores ethics in relation to Aboriginal issues including title, treaties, legal education, and residential schools. With characteristic depth and sensitivity, John Borrows brings insights drawn from philosophy, law, and political science to bear on some of the most pressing issues that arise in contemplating the interaction between Canadian state law and Indigenous legal traditions. In the course of a wide-ranging but accessible inquiry, he discusses such topics as Indigenous agency, self-determination, legal pluralism, and power. In its use of Anishinaabe stories and methodologies drawn from the emerging field of Indigenous studies, Law’s Indigenous Ethics makes a significant contribution to scholarly debate and is an essential resource for readers seeking a deeper understanding of Indigenous rights, societies, and cultures.
Otter’s Journey employs the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. Indigenous languages and laws need bodies to live in. Learning an endangered language and a suppressed legal system are similar experiences. When we bring language back to life, it becomes a medium for developing human relationships. Likewise, when laws are written on people’s hearts, true revitalization has occurred.
Call Number: DAL Dunn Law Library Reserve Collection KB 79.I6 B73 R31
Publication Date: 2002
Canada is covered by a system of law and governance that largely obscures and ignores the presence of pre-existing Indigenous regimes. Indigenous law, however, has continuing relevance for both Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state. In his in-depth examination of the continued existence and application of Indigenous legal values, John Borrows suggests how First Nations laws could be applied by Canadian courts, and tempers this by pointing out the many difficulties that would occur if the courts attempted to follow such an approach. By contrasting and comparing Aboriginal stories and Canadian case law, and interweaving political commentary, Borrows argues that there is a better way to constitute Aboriginal / Crown relations in Canada. He suggests that the application of Indigenous legal perspectives to a broad spectrum of issues that confront us as humans will help Canada recover from its colonial past, and help Indigenous people recover their country. Borrows concludes by demonstrating how Indigenous peoples' law could be more fully and consciously integrated with Canadian law to produce a society where two world views can co-exist and a different vision of the Canadian constitution and citizenship can be created.