After acknowledging the reality and internal consistency of Indigenous legal systems, this course will seek to develop critical understanding of Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, with particular focus on constitutional themes. Topics will include the notions of sovereignty and self-determination, relevant British imperial law, the honour of the Crown and the enforceable Crown obligations to which it gives rise, federal and provincial legislative authority, section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, Aboriginal rights and title, treaties and treaty rights, and Indigenous self-government (statutory and constitutional). Ideally, one class session will feature Toronto lawyers who represent Indigenous clients, discussing practice-related issues.
This course satisfies the prerequisite requirement for the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments. It may also be useful background for advanced seminars about Indigenous Peoples and the Law.