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

Aboriginal Law Report

May 12, 2019

By Bruce McIvor

Happy Mother's Day! After a hiatus, the weekly Aboriginal Law Report is back! This week's update includes Indigenous child welfare, environmental assessments, trespass legislation, Aboriginal title, pipelines, racism and free speech, and much more.

In the News

Unist'ot'en filed a judicial review over archaeological mitigation plans prepared by Coastal GasLink.

With a little over a month before the Federal Government makes its decision, Trans Mountain is back in the headlines.

Alberta’s new government called for the return of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Opposition to Indigenous Child Welfare Bill C-92 continued to build.

The FSIN threatened a legal challenge over Saskatchewan's new provincial trespass laws.

Environmental assessment Bill C-69 continues to attract criticism, including a threat of constitutional challenge from Alberta premier Jason Kenney.

First Peoples Law is honoured to assist our client Elsipogtog First Nation in reaching an important milestone on Thursday regarding their Aboriginal title in New Brunswick.

New Westminster City Council voted to remove a statue of Judge Begbie.

134 years after his wrongful conviction following the Battle of Cut Knife, Chief Poundmaker will be exonerated.

The BC First Nations Justice Council is developing an Indigenous Justice Strategy rooted in Indigenous legal orders.

The Pact for a New Green Deal released on Monday includes a plan to cut emissions in half by 2030 in line with Indigenous knowledge and climate science.

The UN's latest biodiversity report calls for national laws recognizing Indigenous land rights and the application of free, prior, and informed consent.

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation's Aboriginal title trial continues.

Two Aboriginal Title claims in BC are drawing attention from private landowners.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs issued a second report on Canada's inaction on Specific Claims.

Talk of sweeping policy changes affecting Indigenous peoples sparked opposition in Edmonton this month.

Wet'suwet'en hereditary leadership spoke at the UN this month, declaring Canada's violation of Wet'suwet'en law and UNDRIP.

Negotiations to protect Ts'ude Niline Tu'eyeta as a sacred site and harvesting area for Dene and Metis peoples are approaching completion.

The BC Government is accepting feedback on two Draft Agreements for Caribou recovery and habitat restoration in the Southern Mountain Caribou Range.

Grassy Narrows First Nation continues to demand government response to the mercury poisoning crisis in their community.

The flood-prone Kashechewan First Nation reached a framework agreement with federal and provincial governments.

Federal legislation designed to address gender-based discrimination has raised membership concerns at Six Nations.

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Murray Sinclair both sat down with APTN this month to discuss their careers and the state of Aboriginal law and politics.

Eight Indigenous women from North America were selected as Legacy Leaders for their lifelong commitments to cultural and political resurgence.

TRC Calls to Action monitoring project won a Human Rights reporting award in Winnipeg this month.

Latest federal stats show low numbers of Indigenous appointees to the judiciary.

The Squamish Nation is proposing 3,000 housing units on the site from which they were illegally removed in 1913.

And finally (so to speak), a senator was suspended this week for refusing to remove racist letters from her website.

On the Screen

Dr. Tasha Hubbard’s outstanding new film nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up won the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award at the 2019 Hot Docs festival.

Katerina Cizek’s excellent new documentary Supreme Law covers the history of Indigenous activism surrounding the 1982 repatriation of the Canadian Constitution.

Off the Press

Check out this important analysis of municipal obligations and the duty to consult, co-authored by First Peoples Law's Angela D’Elia Decembrini and Osgoode Hall's Shin Imai.

Bob Joseph shares insights from his latest book on how to make reconciliation a reality.

Joshua Nichols’ new book promises a powerful interrogation of Crown sovereignty, underlying title, and legislative power.

From the Courts

The BC Court of Appeal released its long-awaited decision in R. v. Desautel, 2019 BCCA 151 last week. Check out First Peoples Law Associate Kate Gunn's Case Comment on the decision.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Burnaby's application for leave to appeal the Federal Court's Trans Mountain decision earlier this month, along with a Métis rights claim in Quebec.

As several other provinces watched, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled the carbon tax constitutional in a 3-2 reference decision.

The recent Restoule decision affirms and applies Anishinaabe law and legal process to Treaty interpretation alongside Canadian common law.

The Federal Court did not pull any punches last month in its commentary on Canada’s defences to the Indian Residential School Day Scholar Class Action.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal will hear an Indigenous mother's case regarding discrimination in the child-welfare system.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal will hear Manitoba Hydro’s appeal of an order to freeze hydro rates on reserves. 

The High Court of Australia will rule on the constitutionality of deporting Indigenous people who are not citizens.

Quote of the Week

“We’ll go to war and we’ll win. Mark my words.”

Heather Bear, Vice Chief, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations

Off the Bookshelf

"Europeans devised rules intended to justify the dispossession and subjugation of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Of these rules the most fundamental were those governing the ownership of land."

Lindsay G. Robertson, Conquest by Law: How the Discovery of America Dispossessed Indigenous Peoples of Their Lands (2005)

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

May 13: I'll be giving a talk titled "Negotiate or Litigate?" at the Indigenous Trust and Investment Conference in Vancouver.

Download our new E-Book for Free

Our new book, Canadian Aboriginal Law in 2018: Essays and Case Summaries, is now available as a free download through our website.

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

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This week's Aboriginal Law Report was produced with the assistance of Cody O'Neil.

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