Contemporary First Nation Lawmaking: New Spaces for Aboriginal Justice
Undeniably, indigenous peoples within Canadian borders have advantages that indigenous peoples in many other parts of the world do not. Canada recognises First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in its constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada has progressively strengthened Aboriginal authority over land, waters, and natural resources. Since the early 1990s, the provincial and federal governments of Canada have been involved in modern treaty-making to further enshrine the rights of Aboriginal communities with whom the Crown lacked historical agreements. And while progress has been variable, Canada is engaged in a process of reconciliation for some of the worse aspects of its colonial history. In 2008, for example, Canada offered an apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian residential schools system and signed the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, providing redress to victims and establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. As the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples summarises in his 2013 country report, ‘Canada’s relationship with the indigenous peoples within its borders is governed by a well-developed legal framework that in many respects is protective of indigenous peoples’ rights’ (Anaya 2013, p. 5).
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