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

Aboriginal Law Report

May 17, 2020

By Bruce McIvor

This week's edition includes court rulings, new legal challenges, election codes, data sovereignty, Aboriginal title, and more.


In the News

Wet’suwet’en title and rights were front and centre.

A decades-long legal battle came to an end in Tsilhqot'in territory.

The Day Scholar litigation is ongoing.

A legal challenge was launched over COVID-19 funding.

Several major pipelines returned to the headlines.

"Essential services" remains a contentious term.

Election codes were back in the news cycle.

COVID-19 continues to top the agenda.

From the Courts

The NWT Supreme Court weighed in on community investment plans.

Off the Press

Check out part 3 in our COVID-19 series by my colleague Jesse Donovan: Indigenous Lives at Risk: Prisons and COVID-19. Here is part one and part two.

Check out the Yellowhead Institute’s latest brief on COVID-19 data.

In case you missed it, check out our Wet’suwet’en Reading List. We hope it will be a useful tool for anyone wanting to learn more about the situation in Wet'suwet'en territory and Indigenous Peoples’ ongoing struggle for justice in Canada.

Photo by Jeff Nicholls [Tsimshian]

Kitchen Table Chats

First Peoples Law is hosting a series of “Kitchen Table Chats” in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation to provide an opportunity for Indigenous people to share information and develop strategies to help their communities stay safe and healthy.

If you’d like to register for an upcoming session, please email us at with your contact information, position, and the name of your organization/community.

First Peoples Law Reading List

For anyone looking to learn more about Aboriginal law and Indigenous rights in Canada during this time of social distancing, check out our reading list.

Quote of the Week

“Yes, the courts delivered justice, but that required our communities to remain vigilant and strong throughout this entire process, at an immense cost of our time and resources. Without the leadership shown by our communities and Nation, we would have lost the integrity of a sacred place in our territory, and our lands, water and wildlife would be at further risk. The government and the courts needed to be educated on Aboriginal rights and title to arrive at this decision.”

Chief Jimmy Lulua, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government

Off the Bookshelf

“Each season brings, in its newest creations, various secret signals of things to come.”

Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project (1927-1940)

Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, is principal of First Peoples Law Corporation. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Bruce is a proud Métis from the Red River in Manitoba. He holds a Ph.D. in Aboriginal and environmental history and is a Fulbright Scholar. A member of the bar in British Columbia and Ontario, Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.

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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