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

Aboriginal Law Report

October 21, 2018

By Bruce McIvor

In this week's update more on the Mikisew decision, marijuana and Indigenous jurisdiction, fake Indians and much more.
In the News

The legalization of marijuana has raised the issue of Indigenous jurisdiction.

Fake 'Indians' are back in the news.

The Mikisew decision continued to be analyzed.

Kate Gunn and I also weighed in on what Mikisew means for the future.

The Mikisew decision has turned focused attention on the makeup of parliament and the courts.

The Mikisew decision has also renewed calls for meaningful consultation on proposed legislation currently before parliament.

This is a good backgrounder on one Indigenous person's experience with government and the resource extraction industry.

Consultation on a proposed new national park in the Northwest Territories is drawing to a close.

The renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty is moving forward without meaningful Indigenous involvement.

From the Courts

Unfortunately, the Mikisew coverage has overshadowed the Supreme Court's hearing on the Cindy Gladue murder trial appeal.

The Supreme Court will hear a case about industry liability for the effects of mercury poisoning in northwestern Ontario.

Regarding Mikisew, thanks to my friend David Williams at the University of Auckland for sending along this very interesting decision from the New Zealand Supreme Court on issues of treaty settlement, parliament and executive action.

Quote of the Week

“We always find ourselves working within the Canadian government framework which doesn’t always allow for our values and knowledge to be part of the decision-making process in a meaningful way.”

-- Lana Lowe

Year in Review

Kate Gunn and I are continuing 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 Gift Lake Métis Settlement v Alberta (Aboriginal Relations), 2018 ABQB 58.

  • Three former members of the Gift Lake Métis Settlement in Alberta whose memberships were terminated after each registered under the Indian Act to access health benefits sought a declaration that provision in the Métis Settlement Act were outside provincial legislative competence because they were laws in relation to “Indians or Lands reserved for the Indians” under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act.
  • The court found that the membership provisions in the Métis Settlement Act were not invalid due to the principle of interjurisdictional immunity because it did not impair Parliament’s ability to legislate in relation to Aboriginal people in Canada or Métis specifically.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

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 6th: I'll be part of an Osgoode Hall webinar panel on the Mikisew decision moderated by my colleague Kate Gunn.

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. 

Image of the Week

I had the privilege to attend two days of wampum belt teachings this last week organized by my Mi'kmaq clients. For me their elegant, powerful message represented the hard work being done by Indigenous people all across Turtle Island.

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.

For more First Peoples Law comments see our publications page

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