Call to Action #42


Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde (in headdress) and Justice Murray Sinclair (in black suit), TRC commissioner, march during the Walk for Reconciliation, part of the closing events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Sunday, May 31, 2015 in Gatineau, Que. Beginning in the 1870s, over 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were required to attend government-funded, church-run residential schools in an attempt to assimilate them into Canadian society; the last school closed in 1996. Students were prohibited from speaking their own languages, practicing their culture and often experienced physical and sexual abuse. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

42. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to commit to the recognition and implementation of Aboriginal justice systems in a manner consistent with the Treaty and Aboriginal rights of Aboriginal peoples, the Constitution Act, 1982, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed by Canada in November 2012.

We ask that Aboriginal rights and legal practices be immediately implemented in the Canadian Code of Law such as British Common Law and French Civil Law is.
-Aboriginal law more than spiritual beliefs or traditions. It is a group of legal doctrines based upon such defining Canadian documents such as the Royal Proclamation Act of 1763 which granted special land rights for aboriginal peoples.
-It is also based upon Canada’s founding document, the Constitution Act of 1867 which essentially created the Indian Act, a treaty that directly influences how the federal government interacts with aboriginals.
-Arguably the most important part of this discussion is the amendment to the Constitution Act in 1982 which recognized aboriginal treaty and land rights.
-John Borrows argues in his book, Canada’s Indigenous Constitution that Canada has the ability to incorporate Aboriginal legal practices because of its ability to cooperate between Common and Civil Law for hundreds of years.
-He also argues that constitutional entrenchment of treaties through the Constitution Act of 1982 similarly entrenches the legal traditions informing these agreements.
-This recommendation is being included because aboriginal peoples have various diverse and sophisticated legal practices all across Canada that are not represented in Canada’s legal system.
-This recommendation is important because when the French settlers first interacted with the indigenous peoples in the 17th century, they were very accommodating of indigenous legal traditions. As time has gone on  we have taken steps backwards in tolerance, and need to return to respecting their traditions and practices.
-With the way legal education is allocating more focus towards aboriginal law, this recommendation should have no problem being implemented into the Canadian Legal System, it is only a matter of time.


Further Reading:


Compiled By: Matthew Fancy

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