First Peoples Law is dedicated to defending and advancing Indigenous peoples' Aboriginal title, rights and Treaty rights.

Aboriginal Law Report

October 14, 2018

By Bruce McIvor

In this week's update: disappointment with the Supreme Court, an attempted reboot for comprehensive claims, Indigenous laws, the 60's Scoop, the first instalment of our case law review for 2018 and much more.
In the News

The federal government is touting a new agreement under the BC Treaty Process as a reboot for comprehensive claims.

There is a new Indigenous Senator.

The first Indigenous protected national wildlife area has been created.

The 60s Scoop sharing circles have started in Saskatchewan.

Here's a good piece on some of the differences between Indigenous and Western legal orders.

Indigenous Peoples' insistence on controlling hunting in their territories is leading the public to ask important questions about whose laws apply.

Here's an example of an unexpected way to use a First Nation land code.

From northern Ontario, an example of the racism Indigenous people face on a regular basis.

Two Indigenous MPs want to educate the PM.

Indigenous Peoples and NAFTA 2.0.

From the Courts

A divided Supreme Court released a contentious decision on the duty to consult.

This is the best piece I've read to date on the Mikisew decision.

The Heiltsuk filed a law suit over the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill.

Quote of the Week

“The big battle is coming and it is going to be huge.”

Steve Courtoreille, former chief of Alberta's Mikisew Cree First Nation

Year in Review

Kate Gunn and I have started our yearly case law review. In early January we'll publish a collection of short summaries of all the major decisions from 2018 along with a collection of case comments and critical essays. Sign up for our blog to receive the publication as a free electronic file.

Here's our summary for Squamish Nation v British Columbia (Environment), 2018 BCSC 844

The BC Supreme Court dismissed the Squamish Nation’s petition for an order setting aside the Province’s decision to issue an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the Trans Mountain Project on the basis that the Province failed to fulfil its duty to consult.

The Court found that the Province’s options were constrained by the constitutional division of powers and the federal-provincial equivalency agreement for the project assessment. The Province could issue the certificate with or without conditions, but the option of refusing to issue a certificate at all was constitutionally unavailable. Given these restraints, the Court concluded that the Province’s decision to issue the certificate was within the range of reasonable outcomes and entitled to deference.

Workshop Update

My next workshop will be on Thursday, October 18th at Elsipogtog First Nation. Email us at for details and to register.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

October 14th: Later this morning I'll presenting a homily entitled "Indigenous Peoples and the Law: Stories of Resistance and Hope" at the Vancouver Unitarian Church. All are welcomed to attend. Copies of my book will be available by donation with all proceeds going to support the work of the congregation.

November 22rd: I'll be in Montreal at the ADR Institute of Canada's annual conference on a panel with a great group of Indigenous lawyers and leaders to speak on the issue of Indigenous jurisdiction and the Canadian constitution.

December 13th: Don Colborne and I will be presenting a session on the negotiation and mediation of specific claims at the PBLI's Specific Claims Conference in Vancouver.

March 1st: I'll be speaking on "Strategic Infringement Claims," at the PBLI's Consultation & Accommodation Conference in Vancouver. 

Download My Book

The new edition of my collection of essays on Canadian law and decolonization is available as a free download. So far we've had close to 5000 downloads from around the world. Paperback copies are also available to order. Click here to check it out.

I also have paperback copies available for free to non-profit Indigenous organizations in Canada for the cost of shipping.  if you would like some copies.

Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, is principal of First Peoples Law Corporation.  Download Bruce's bio.

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