Indigenous Law Blog
Our blog provides updates on legal issues that relate to Indigenous peoples as well as Indigenous and treaty rights. Our regular posts will discuss news on self-government, treaty implementation, land claims, land use and resource development, revenue sharing, harvesting rights, residential schools claims, taxation, trusts, business and economic development, financing, construction and leasing, land transaction, employment, and more.
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Indigenous Language Education: Is it an Aboriginal Right?

by Alex Keenan on May 10, 2016

Indigenous Language Education: Is it an Aboriginal Right?

Canada’s Indigenous languages are in danger of disappearing. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has urged the government to make Indigenous language education a priority so that these traditions can be carried on into future generations.

The problem is rooted in Canada’s history of residential schools, where the government intentionally tried to stamp out Indigenous cultures and languages through  a policy of assimilation. As a result, many former students have lost, to one degree or another, the ability to speak and understand their own languages. Communities are now trying to make sure that their languages are taught to the younger generations before the knowledge is lost forever.

Read more on Indigenous Language Education: Is it an Aboriginal Right?

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Supreme Court expands definition of "Indians"

by Blog Editor on April 29, 2016

Supreme Court expands definition of

Are Métis and non-status Indians considered to be “Indians” under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867?

Henry Daniels asked the courts this question in 1999, and 17 years later, the Supreme Court of Canada gave him an answer: “Yes”.

On April 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Daniels v. Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development). Though Henry Daniels was no longer alive to hear it, his son Gabriel Daniels was present at the Supreme Court to celebrate his father’s long-fought success.

Read more on Supreme Court expands definition of "Indians"

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Indigenous Resources Part 1: the Odawa Native Friendship Centre

by Blog Editor on February 23, 2016

Indigenous Resources Part 1: the Odawa Native Friendship Centre

Nelligan O’Brien Payne’s Indigenous law group serves First Nation and Inuit organizations on issues that are of major importance to Indigenous Communities.

Supporting the Indigenous community is a collective effort and involves a variety of resources.

Our group recognizes the value of the work done at the community level and would like to highlight community-based organizations that promote the enhancement of Indigenous rights and values. Below is one example of an important local resource that provides services to the Indigenous community.

Read more on Indigenous Resources Part 1: the Odawa Native Friendship Centre

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline and the Duty to Consult

by Alex Keenan on February 2, 2016

The Northern Gateway Pipeline and the Duty to Consult

First Nations and other players in the resource-development arena are now very familiar with the Crown’s duty to consult with, and in some cases accommodate, Indigenous peoples when development projects have the potential to impact Aboriginal and treaty rights. The Supreme Court of Canada has said that the Crown cannot delegate this responsibility entirely to project proponents - certain procedural elements may be delegated, but the Crown has ultimate responsibility for consultation and accommodation.

A recent decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court takes this discussion a step further by asking: to what extent can a provincial government pass its duty to consult over to the federal Crown?

Read more on The Northern Gateway Pipeline and the Duty to Consult

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Year in Review - 2015

by Alex Keenan on December 10, 2015

Year in Review - 2015

2015 was a big year for Indigenous law - both inside and outside of the courts. Here is our round-up of just a few of the noteworthy events.

The Truth and Reconciliation wrapped up its operations in June

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or TRC, was created as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its mandate is to collect and record documents and memories about Canada’s history of residential schools and to recommend steps to the Government of Canada that will address the inter-generational legacy of residential schools. Thousands of survivors, family members and supporters attended the TRC’s closing ceremonies in Ottawa from May 31st to June 3rd. The Independent Assessment Process, in which survivors may claim compensation for abuse at residential schools, is ongoing.

Read more on Year in Review - 2015

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.