Paper Title

[3.1] Aboriginal Mobilization: Community Response to Canada’s Colonial Legal System

Location

IB 1020

Start Date

January 2020

End Date

January 2020

Disciplines

Comparative Politics | History | Natural Resources Law | Philosophy | Political Science

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

When analyzing the history of the Canadian state’s interaction with Aboriginal rights, especially regarding land claim disputes, it is clear that the nation’s colonial legal system severely restricts the ability for Aboriginal peoples to express sovereignty over their traditional territories. As a result, Aboriginal communities have turned to social movements as an alternative method to claim their rights to traditional lands in Canada. This paper explores the success of various Aboriginal-led social movements while they mobilize around land claim disputes within the different structures of the Canadian legal system. It is noted that while acts of Aboriginal-led civil disobedience have the potential to hold the Canadian government accountable to their own colonialist legal systems, the extent of their success is limited by ways in which the Crown translates existing laws. Therefore, social movements aimed at claiming rights to land incorporated in the Numbered Treaties, such as the legal battle exemplified by the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation, have limited success. In contrast, if Aboriginal communities are able to prove traditional title over unceded lands, such as the Haida Nation has in BC, social movements have proven to be highly effective in holding the Crown accountable to the laws established via their own legal system.

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Jan 18th, 2:30 PM Jan 18th, 4:00 PM

[3.1] Aboriginal Mobilization: Community Response to Canada’s Colonial Legal System

IB 1020

When analyzing the history of the Canadian state’s interaction with Aboriginal rights, especially regarding land claim disputes, it is clear that the nation’s colonial legal system severely restricts the ability for Aboriginal peoples to express sovereignty over their traditional territories. As a result, Aboriginal communities have turned to social movements as an alternative method to claim their rights to traditional lands in Canada. This paper explores the success of various Aboriginal-led social movements while they mobilize around land claim disputes within the different structures of the Canadian legal system. It is noted that while acts of Aboriginal-led civil disobedience have the potential to hold the Canadian government accountable to their own colonialist legal systems, the extent of their success is limited by ways in which the Crown translates existing laws. Therefore, social movements aimed at claiming rights to land incorporated in the Numbered Treaties, such as the legal battle exemplified by the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation, have limited success. In contrast, if Aboriginal communities are able to prove traditional title over unceded lands, such as the Haida Nation has in BC, social movements have proven to be highly effective in holding the Crown accountable to the laws established via their own legal system.