Aboriginal Law Report
By Bruce McIvor
In the News
Residential School Survivors who attended Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet have fought and won recognition under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
A free, prior, and informed consent policy was announced in Washington state.
- State Attorney General announces free, prior and informed consent policy with Washington tribes - IndianCountryToday.com
A child welfare Charter challenge is awaiting a decision from the Manitoba Court of Appeal.
Manitoba was called to address the impact of ongoing hydro diversions--check out the Wa Ni Ska Tan Alliance of Hydro-Impacted Communities here.
Land protectors in Labrador were in court over the Muskrat Falls hydro dam project.
- Protecting the land or breaking the law? A judge will now decided the fate of the Muskrat Falls land protectors - APTN News
A sand mining project is raising concerns at Hollow Water First Nation.
Columbia River Treaty (re)negotiations are ongoing.
Proposed forestry legislation was postponed in the Northwest Territories amid concerns of inadequate consultation.
- N.W.T. gov't pushes proposed Forest Act until after election, expedites Protected Areas Act | CBC News
K'ómoks First Nation reached a specific claim settlement with the federal government.
Chief Poundmaker was exonerated.
- Trudeau exonerates Cree leader 130 years after wrongful conviction
- Sask. First Nation 'very, very excited' about famous chief's exoneration | CBC News
- 'A real smear job': Authors who dispelled myths about Chief Poundmaker applaud exoneration | CBC News
- Chief Poundmaker exoneration spurs calls for more historical corrections | CBC News
The “conquered people” argument is back again.
- JIM VIBERT: In fairness, province must accept ruling on ‘conquered people’ lawyer | The Chronicle Herald
Alberta’s new government was in the news on a number of fronts.
- Environmentalists say Alberta government war room threat “amateur hour”
- Read: The full text of the first throne speech under Alberta’s new United Conservative government
During a stop in Vancouver the Prime Minister was questioned on the federal government’s pipeline plans.
Ontario released its “revised Indigenous curriculum.”
- Nishnawbe Aski Nation leadership says collaboration for revised Indigenous curriculum 'never happened' | CBC News
- 'Very troublesome' that Indigenous high school courses won't be mandatory, Ontario First Nations leaders say | CBC News
- NetNewsLedger - Ontario Government Announces Indigenous Education Curriculum
The legal meaning of “moderate livelihood” is back in the news in Wolastoqiyik territory.
- First Nations logger says conservation officers are eliminating his market instead of laying charges | CBC News
The National Indigenous Fisheries Institute released its review of Indigenous programs at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
- Setting a new course for Indigenous and Government of Canada collaboration through the co-development, co-design, and co-delivery of fisheries programs
Caribou recovery is an important issue in British Columbia.
Kwantlen First Nation is revitalizing eulachon in Stó:lō territory.
The Royal BC Museum has a new policy for repatriating items stolen during the potlatch ban.
The Squamish Nation is telling the history behind its new housing plans at Sen̓áḵw.
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation declared a climate state of emergency.
The federal government has yet to decolonize its citizenship guide.
An Indigenous land-based healing camp celebrated its one year anniversary in Yellowknife.
From the Courts
In Reference re Environmental Management Act (British Columbia), 2019 BCCA 181, the BC Court of Appeal ruled that BC’s proposed amendment regarding the flow of bitumen into the province was beyond provincial jurisdiction.
- Court says B.C. can't restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain - APTN News
- B.C. to appeal court ruling that it can't restrict oil shipments through Trans Mountain pipeline
In R. v. Barton, 2019 SCC 33, the Supreme Court ruled that the acquittal of Bradley Barton in the death of Cindy Gladue was tainted by myths of consent and ordered a new manslaughter trial.
- Supreme Court orders new manslaughter trial for accused in death of Cindy Gladue | CBC News
- ‘This horror show continues’: Indigenous rights lawyer on Cindy Gladue death retrial | Watch News Videos Online
- ‘This is a big step forward’: Indigenous rights advocate on bias, prejudice, racism not being part of court evidence | Watch News Videos Online
- Supreme Court clarifies sexual assault law in case spotlighting justice system's mistreatment of Indigenous women and sex workers
In Clark v. Abegweit First Nation Band Council, 2019 FC 721, the Federal Court allowed the judicial review of custom election regulations and provided commentary on the role of Indigenous legal processes.
In Whalen v. Fort McMurray No. 468 First Nation, 2019 FC 732, the Federal Court applied an analysis of Indigenous legal sources to evaluate the role of customary law in consensus-based decision making.
South of the border, in Herrera v. Wyoming, the US Supreme Court ruled that Wyoming statehood did not extinguish the Crow Tribe’s hunting rights under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.
- Treaty rights win in Supreme Court - IndianCountryToday.com
- U.S. Supreme Court sides with Native American elk hunter
On the Air
ȻWENÁLYEN Nick Claxton on revitalizing the reef net fishery in W̱SÁNEĆ territory.
On the Stage
Treaty-making and theatre production.
- To protect Indigenous values, this director created an artistic 'treaty' for her new play | CBC Arts
On the Screen
Heperi Mita’s new film Merata: How Mum Decolonized the Screen closed the DOXA festival in Vancouver.
Off the Press
Here's an important piece on Muskrat Falls and methylmercury.
here's a legal update on the ongoing history of sex discrimination under the Indian Act.
Finally hockey, settler colonialism, and reconciliation.
Quote of the Week
“The responsibility lies on all those within the criminal justice system - judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors, police - to ensure that the sentiment, the message, the obligations outlined in this decision are given life so that Indigenous women across this country have our justice system as a legitimate source of justice, recourse, safety, and protection.”
Qajaq Robinson, MMIWG Commissioner, on the Supreme Court's ruling in R. v. Barton.
Off the Bookshelf
“Even where the court moves toward recognizing modes of land use that do not conform to an ideology of improvement as the basis for an aboriginal title claim, they have yet to do so on the basis of aboriginal concepts of land use and ownership. Furthermore, in not overturning the test for a justifiable infringement of aboriginal title established in Delgamuukw, the court refuses to address the constitutive violence that is repeated with every judgment that reiterates the fiction that the Crown maintains underlying sovereignty over First Nations lands.”
Brenna Bhandar, Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership (2018).
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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.