Indigenous Perspectives and Realities

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of knowledge systems that inform  
Indigenous understandings of law, justice, governance and treaties.  It is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   This course is offered as an experiential education opportunity that will assist students in gaining familiarity, in a variety of contexts, with the diversity of Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies that frame Indigenous reality.  The course will examine major political, educational, economic, legal, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in both present-day and historical contexts.  Course material will be drawn from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry; as well as other materials that provide insights into the contemporary reality of Indigenous peoples. As the main goal of the course is for students to demonstrate a sound appreciation for the perspectives and realities of Indigenous peoples, students will learn directly from Indigenous peoples through guest speakers and assigned multi-media.  Students will be required to participate in land based  and experiential activities outside of the law school; there will be a remote option for students to fulfill these requirements remotely.   The course will be framed around the concept of ‘place’ (e.g., urban  
Toronto) and explore relationships to place from a variety of experiential perspectives (e.g., Indigenous, ally, settler Canadian, newcomer).

International Human Rights Law

This seminar is organized into three modules. The first will provide a foundational background that includes an overview of the history, key concepts, and the underlying international law framework of the international human rights law (IHRL) system. The second module will deliver the substantive core of the seminar’s subject matter and include an introduction to major institutions and processes of the system, an overview of some core doctrine and debates related to a selection of protected human rights (e.g. those related to life, health, torture, forced labour and slavery, freedom of expression and information), engagement with certain general concepts and debates about individual rights as well as the system as a whole (including criticisms and controversies), and the various ways in which international human rights law can be used as a legal advocacy tool within the domestic system. The third and final module will examine selected current topics in IHRL, including a review of closely related fields of international law such as international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international refugee law, and indigenous peoples’ rights.
 
The IHRL system is vast, and the goal of the course is not to provide a comprehensive doctrinal understanding of the entire field. Rather, the objective is for students to come away with a basic familiarity with the fundamental architecture of the system, the resources with which to navigate it, and knowledge of the ways in which international human rights law can be used to inform and support human rights advocacy under domestic legal systems. In addition, through the requirement of a major paper, each student will gain more focused knowledge of a specialized topic of the student’s choice.

Student learning will take place by completion of assigned readings, online posting of brief comments by students, and discussion in class, combined with the preparation of a major research paper.

The class meets once a week in a 3-hour time slot. Guests may on occasion be beamed into the class using a classroom internet connection; certain classes may be scheduled to be fully remote on Zoom where a guest or guests cannot attend in person.

Comparative Law: Indigenous Legal Traditions

This seminar will introduce students to non-state Indigenous legal orders. Using a transsystemic pedagogical model and a wide range of reading materials (legal cases, methodology, pedagogy, anthropology, theory) students will critically explore the theories and practices of indigenous legal traditions through analysis and substantive treatment of: indigenous sources of law; oral histories and traditions (as legal archive); legal cases and precedent; modes of reasoning and interpretation; and authority and legitimacy.

Indigenous Perspectives and Realities

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of knowledge systems that inform  
Indigenous understandings of law, justice, governance and treaties.  It is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   This course is offered as an experiential education opportunity that will assist students in gaining familiarity, in a variety of contexts, with the diversity of Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies that frame Indigenous reality.  The course will examine major political, educational, economic, legal, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in both present-day and historical contexts.  Course material will be drawn from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry; as well as other materials that provide insights into the contemporary reality of Indigenous peoples. As the main goal of the course is for students to demonstrate a sound appreciation for the perspectives and realities of Indigenous peoples, students will learn directly from Indigenous peoples through guest speakers and assigned multi-media.  Students will be required to participate in land based  and experiential activities outside of the law school; there will be a remote option for students to fulfill these requirements remotely.   The course will be framed around the concept of ‘place’ (e.g., urban  
Toronto) and explore relationships to place from a variety of experiential perspectives (e.g., Indigenous, ally, settler Canadian, newcomer).

Indigenous Perspectives and Realities

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of knowledge systems that inform Indigenous understandings of law, justice, governance, and treaties.  It is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   This course is offered as an experiential education opportunity that will assist students in gaining familiarity with Indigenous voices and priorities, in a variety of contexts, with the diversity of Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies that frame Indigenous realities. The course will examine major political, educational, economic, legal, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in both present-day and historical contexts.  Course material will be drawn from processes such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry; as well as other materials that provide insights into the contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples.  
As the main goal of the course is for students to demonstrate a sound appreciation for the perspectives and realities of Indigenous peoples, students will learn directly from Indigenous peoples through guest speakers and assigned multi-media.  Students will be required to participate in land-based and experiential activities outside of the law school; with potential options for students to fulfill these requirements remotely. The course will be framed around the concept of place’ (e.g., urban Toronto) and explore relationships to place from a variety of experiential perspectives (e.g., Indigenous, ally, settler Canadian, relation, newcomer).

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This course will provide a critical survey of state law as it relates to Indigenous peoples in Canada. The focus will be on the following topics: the historical context and constitutional framework; Aboriginal rights and title; self-government; treaties and treaty rights; and introduction to the Indian Act; and the authority and obligations of the federal and provincial governments.

This course fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources and Governments.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This substantive law course will explore the interactions between Canadian common law and Indigenous law, primarily Anishinaabe law. The content will be viewed through the lens of Indigenous worldviews. Topics will include, but are not limited to: Indigenous sources of law; historical context and constitutional framework re: Indigenous Peoples; Aboriginal Rights, Title and the Doctrine of Discovery; treaties; resource rights and consultation; and the Indian Act and Identity. The course will be presented from a practitioner’s perspective working within Anishinaabe communities, with attention to practical intersections between the various topics. This course fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources and Governments.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

The principal aim of this section of the course is to develop critical understanding of those parts of Canadian constitutional law that pertain specifically to Indigenous peoples. 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). The plan is for one class session, late in the term, to feature Toronto lawyers who represent or advise Indigenous clients, discussing practice-related issues.

The course will also acknowledge the reality, the coherence and the efficacy of Indigenous law. Early in the term, an Indigenous law scholar will spend one class session introducing the students to an Indigenous legal order. But Indigenous law will figure somewhat less prominently in this section of the course than it does in some other sections, because the instructor, who is not Indigenous, has neither authority nor permission to pronounce on matters internal to any Indigenous legal order. Students whose primary interest is in Indigenous law may prefer another section of this course, or may wish to supplement this course with a companion course whose specific focus is Indigenous law.

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.

Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law

This substantive law course explores the relationships between Indigenous legal orders, the common law and Canadian law, in the context of the practical complexities involved in litigating Aboriginal and Treaty rights cases. Topics may include, but are not limited to: Indigenous laws and governance systems; intersocietal law; history of treaties and treaty relationships; pre-existing Indigenous sovereignty and assumed Crown sovereignty; the honour of the Crown; the colonial doctrines of discovery and terra nullius; settler-colonialism and Indigenous resurgence. The course will provide a survey of key procedural and substantive elements (eg. pleadings,
expert witnesses, Elder evidence, argument and remedies) from the perspective of a practioner working exclusively in this area of law on behalf of First Nation clients and communities. This course consists of weekly lectures and in-class discussions. Evaluation encompasses: in-class quizzes, weekly reading assignments, participation, and a group advocacy component. This course also fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources and Governments.

Animals and the Law

This course analyzes the legal treatment of nonhuman animals, interrogating the limits of
the prevailing property concept that treats them as objects when they are also sentient
subjects with some legal rights. Topics explored include emerging alternatives to the
persons vs property debate; federal anti-cruelty protections and provincial welfare
legislation in Canada; and Indigenous laws and perspectives on nonhuman animals.