First Peoples Law Reading List

By Bruce McIvor

During this time of social distancing, I thought it would be helpful to share an updated First Peoples Law reading list for anyone looking to learn more about Aboriginal law and Indigenous rights in Canada.

It is a work in progress, not a comprehensive list. I would welcome any feedback or additional reading recommendations.

Please consider ordering from independent bookstores offering local delivery across the country at this time.

The full reading list is provided below.

Download the reading list here.

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Introductory text on Aboriginal law in Canada

  • Jim Reynolds, Aboriginal Peoples and the Law: A Critical Introduction (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018)

History and analysis of Aboriginal and Treaty rights in Canadian law

  • Bruce McIvor, First Peoples Law: Essays on Canadian Law and Decolonization (First Peoples Law, 2018)
  • Gordon Christie, Canadian Law and Indigenous Self‚ÄźDetermination: A Naturalist Analysis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019)
  • Joshua Nichols, A Reconciliation without Recollection? An Investigation of the Foundations of Aboriginal Law in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019)
  • Kent McNeil, Flawed Precedent: The St. Catherine's Case and Aboriginal Title (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019)
  • Jim Reynolds, From Wardship to Rights: The Guerin Case and Aboriginal Law (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020)
  • Felix Hoehn, Reconciling Sovereignties: Aboriginal Nations and Canada (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Native Law Centre, 2012)
  • Hamar Foster, Heather Raven & Jeremy Webber, Let Right Be Done: Aboriginal Title, the Calder Case and the Future of Indigenous Rights (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007)
  • John Borrows and Michael Coyle, eds., The Right Relationship: Reimagining the Implementation of Historical Treaties (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017)
  • Michael Asch, On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014)
  • Harold Johnson, Two Families: Treaties and Government (Saskatoon: Purich Publishing, 2007)
  • Chartrand, Paul L.A.H., ed., Who Are Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples? Recognition, Definition, and Jurisdiction (Saskatoon: Purich Publishing, 2002)

Essay collections on Canadian law, Indigenous law, and international law

  • John Borrows, Larry Chartrand, Oonagh E. Fitzgerald and Risa Schwartz, eds., Braiding Legal Orders: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Waterloo: Centre for International Governance Innovation, 2019)
  • Karen Drake and Brenda L. Gunn, eds., Renewing Relationships: Indigenous Peoples and Canada (Saskatoon: Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan, 2019)
  • Sheryl Lightfoot, Global Indigenous Politics: A Subtle Revolution (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016)
  • Jackie Hartley, Paul Joffe, and Jennifer Preston, eds., Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010)

Indigenous law and legal pluralism

  • John Borrows, Canada’s Indigenous Constitution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010)
  • Hadley Friedland, The Wetiko Legal Principles: Cree and Anishinabek Responses to Violence and Victimization (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018)
  • Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum), Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems (Saskatoon: Purich Publishing, 2015)
  • Aimée Craft, Breathing Life Into the Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishnabe Understanding of Treaty One (Saskatoon: Purich Publishing, 2013)
  • Val Napoleon, Ayook: Gitksan Legal Order, Law, and Legal Theory (University of Victoria: PhD Dissertation, 2009)
  • Aaron Mills, Miinigowiziwin: all that has been given for living well together: one vision of Anishinaabe constitutionalism (University of Victoria: PhD Dissertation, 2019)
  • John Borrows, Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016)
  • John Borrows, Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010)
  • Antonia Mills, Eagle Down Is Our Law: Witsuwit'en Law, Feasts, and Land Claims (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1994)

Aboriginal law case summaries and commentary

Policy analysis


Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report

Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

Foundational works of Indigenous anticolonialism in Canada

  • George Manuel and Michael Posluns, The Fourth World: An Indian Reality (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974/2019)
  • Lee Maracle, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel (Toronto: Women’s Press, 1975/1990)
  • Harold Cardinal, The Unjust Society: The Tragedy of Canada's Indians (Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1969/1999)
  • Maria Campbell, Halfbreed (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1973/2019)
  • Howard Adams, Prison of Grass: Canada from a Native Point of View (Markham: Fifth House Books, 1975/1989)
  • Patricia Monture-Angus, Thunder In My Soul: A Mohawk Woman Speaks (Toronto: Brunswick Books, 1995)
  • Lee Maracle, I am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism (Vancouver: Press Gang Publishing, 2003)

Contemporary histories of Indigenous rights and political activism in Canada

  • Arthur Manuel, The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy (Toronto: Lorimer, 2017)
  • Bev Sellars, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2016)
  • Pamela Palmater, Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2015)
  • Arthur Manuel, Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2015)
  • Kino-nda-niimi Collective, The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement (Winnipeg: ARP Books, 2014)

History and analysis of the Indian Act

  • Bob Joseph, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality (Brantford: Indigenous Relations Press, 2018)
  • Mary-Ellen Kelm and Keith D. Smith, Talking Back to the Indian Act: Critical Readings in Settler Colonial Histories (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018)

Introductory histories of Indigenous-Crown relations in Canada

  • Whose Land is it Anyways? A Manual for Decolonization (Vancouver: Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC, 2017)
  • Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Toronto: Anchor Canada, 2013)
  • Harold Johnson, Peace and Good Order: The Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2019)
  • Bob Joseph, Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality (Brantford: Indigenous Relations Press, 2019)
  • John Ralston Saul, The Comeback: How Aboriginals are Reclaiming Power and Influence (Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2015)

Histories of settler colonial law

  • Brenna Bhandar, Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018)
  • Lindsay G. Robertson, Conquest by Law: How the Discovery of America Dispossessed Indigenous Peoples of their Lands (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Chartrand, Paul L.A.H., Manitoba’s Metis Settlement Scheme of 1870 (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Native Law Centre, 1991)
  • Jean Teillet, The North-West Is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel's People, the Métis Nation (Toronto: Harper Collins, 2019)
  • Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan, Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2018)
  • James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013)

Graphic novel histories

  • Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm et al, This Place: 150 Years Retold (Winnipeg: HighWater Press, 2019)
  • Gord Hill, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002)
  • UVic Indigenous Law Research Unit, Mikomosis and the Wetiko (University of Victoria: Indigenous Law Research Unit, 2013)


Essay collection on Indigenous resurgence and reconciliation in Canada

  • Michael Asch, John Borrows, James Tully, eds., Resurgence and Reconciliation: Indigenous-Settler Relations and Earth Teachings (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018)

Indigenous resurgence and Canadian settler colonialism

  • Leanne Simpson, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
  • Audra Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014)
  • Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
  • Elaine Coburn, ed., More Will Sing Their Way to Freedom: Indigenous Resistance and Resurgence (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2015)
  • Joyce Green, ed., Making Space for Indigenous Feminism (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2017)
  • Leanne Simpson, Dancing on our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence (Winnipeg, Arbeiter Ring Press, 2011)
  • Taiaiake Alfred, Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005)

Settler decolonization in Canada

  • Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011)
  • Emma Battell Lowman and Adam J. Barker, Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2015)
  • Eva Mackey, Unsettled Expectations: Uncertainty, Land, and Settler Decolonization (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2016)
  • Scott Lauria Morgensen: Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
  • Lynne Davis, ed., Alliances: Re/Envisioning Indigenous-non-Indigenous Relationships (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010)


Indigenous research methodologies

  • Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (London: Zed Books, 2012)
  • Shawn Wilson, Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods (Winnipeg/Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2008)

Indigenous legal research methodologies

  • Val Napoleon and Hadley Friedland, “Gathering the Threads: Developing a Methodology for Researching and Rebuilding Indigenous Legal Traditions” (2015) 1:1 Lakehead LJ 16
  • Val Napoleon and Hadley Friedland, "An Inside Job: Engaging with Indigenous Legal Traditions Through Stories" (2016) 61:4 McGill Law Journal 725
  • John Borrows, "Heroes, Tricksters, Monsters and Caregivers: Indigenous Laws and Legal Education" (2016) 61 McGill Law Journal
  • John Borrows, "Outsider Education: Indigenous Law and Land-based Learning" (2016) 33 Windsor Y B Access Just 1

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.

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