Indigenous Legal Orders and the Common Law 2012


Course Date: November 15, 2012

Total: 10h 4min

Day 1: Identifying Jurisdictional Space For Indigenous Laws Within Confederation

The history of the interface of Europeans and the common law with Aboriginal peoples is a long one. As might be expected of such a long history, the principles by which the interface has been governed have not always been consistently applied. Yet running through this history, from its earliest beginnings to the present time, is a golden thread—the recognition by the common law of the ancestral laws and customs of the Aboriginal peoples who occupied the land prior to European settlement.
         - Chief Justice McLachlin in R. v. Van der Peet

Welcome and Introduction

  • opening prayer
  • opening remarks by chairs

M. Louise Mandell, QC, LLD (hon) — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver
Ardith A. (Walpetko We'dalx) Walkem — Walkem & Associates, Chilliwack

Welcome to the Witnesses

Chief Marilyn Baptiste — Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Vancouver
Leah D. (Sisi-ya-ama) George-Wilson — First Nations Summit, West Vancouver
Chief Robert Joseph — BC Assembly of First Nations, West Vancouver

Celebrating the Links of Indigenous Peoples to the Crown

Celebrating the laws of Indigenous Nations that pre-existed and survived the assertion of Crown sovereignty in BC, and the spirit of relationship that Indigenous Peoples and the Crown promised to honour in BC.

Chief Douglas S. White III (Kwulasultun) — Snuneymuxw First Nation, Nanaimo
Dr. Ronald E. Ignace (Stsmelqín) — Secwepemc First Nation; Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby

Networking Break

Indigenous World Views and The Golden Thread of Continuity

  • Indigenous world views and values, and how these inform Indigenous legal orders

The Honourable Steven Point — Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Victoria

  • The Golden Thread of Continuity: the challenge of moving toward transformation and recognition of Indigenous laws and legal orders

M. Louise Mandell, QC, LLD (hon) — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver

  • Indigenous legal orders and treaty federalism

Dr. Kiera Ladner — Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

Lunch with Keynote Speaker: "The Duty to Learn: Taking Account of Indigenous Legal Orders in Practice"

The Honourable Chief Justice Lance S. G. Finch — Court of Appeal for British Columbia, Vancouver

The Living Tree

Reflections upon the Living Tree doctrine within the common law and its power to make space for Indigenous laws within the Canadian constitutional framework:

A constitution… is drafted with an eye to the future. Its function is to provide a continuing framework for the legitimate exercise of governmental power …. Once enacted, its provisions cannot easily be repealed or amended. It must, therefore, be capable of growth and development over time to meet new social, political and historical realities often unimagined by its framers. The judiciary is the guardian of the constitution and must, in interpreting its provisions, bear these considerations in mind. Professor Paul Freund expressed this idea aptly when he admonished the American courts "not to read the provisions of the Constitution like a last will and testament lest it become one”.
         -
Chief Justice Dickson in Hunter v. Southam Inc.

Dr. John Borrows — Robina Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis
Professor Michael Jackson, QC — Faculty of Law at Allard Hall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Professor Kent McNeil — Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto

International Opportunities Supporting Recognition of Indigenous Laws

Grand Chief Edward John (Akile Ch'oh) — First Nations Summit, West Vancouver

Networking Break

Pathways to Recognition of Indigenous Laws

Reflections upon practical examples and opportunities for the recognition of Indigenous laws.

  • restoring community wellness through Indigenous laws

Mark Wedge — Former Kha Shaa de Heni, Carcross Tagish First Nation, Tagish,Yukon

  • Indigenous laws incorporated into governance structures

Dean Lorne Sossin — Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto

  • Indigenous laws as a basis for relationship building

Dr. Judith Sayers — Visiting National Aboriginal Economic Development Chair, Assistant Professor Business and Law, University of Victoria, Victoria

Closing Comments

5:00 – 8:00 Dinner and Entertainment (Co-hosted by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, and Assembly of First Nations, British Columbia). NOTE: This portion is NOT AVAILABLE online.

Button Blankets as Indigenous Legal Pedagogy—Art Installation

Maxine V. H. Matilpi, JD, LLM — Kwakitul/Ma'amtigila Nations, First Nations Studies, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo


DAY 2—Indigenous Laws: Dreaming a Collective Future of Recognition

Opening: Chairs’ Reflections on Day 1 and Introduction to Day 2

M. Louise Mandell, QC, LLD (hon) — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver
Ardith (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem — Walkem & Associates, Chilliwack

Indigenous Law as Law, On the Ground, and in Practice

  • Indigenous law as law

Dr. Val Napoleon — Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Victoria

  • envisioning the interaction of Haida laws to achieve respectful co-existence

Terri-Lynn (gid7ahl-Gudsllaay) Williams-Davidson — White Raven Law Corporation, Surrey

Networking Break

  • persistence of Indigenous laws: family law

Ardith A. (Walpetko We'dalx) Walkem — Walkem & Associates, Chilliwack

  • Indigenous legal traditions and a land ethic

Dr. Jeannette C. Armstrong, PhD — Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna

Constitutional Space and Indigenous Legal Orders

Dr. John Borrows — Robina Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis

Lunch with Keynote Speaker: “A Country: Its Peoples and Its Law”

The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, PC — Chief Justice of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

Exploring Indigenous Dispute Resolution Mechanisms Within and Outside of the Adversarial Model

Personal perspectives and experiences; thoughts on why hope and change are needed.

The Honourable Administrative Judge Marion R. Buller Bennett — Provincial Court of British Columbia, Port Coquitlam
The Honourable Steven Point — Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Victoria

Networking Break

Dialogue on a Shared Dreaming: Imagining Space for Indigenous Laws in Practice

How can the Canadian legal landscape be transformed to make space for Indigenous Laws, and what might that look like?

  • creating inclusive space for Indigenous laws and possibilities

Dr. Roshan Danesh — President, Education for Peace Canada, Victoria

  • incorporating Coast Salish legal traditions

Sarah Morales — Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Ottawa

  • women and feminism in Indigenous laws: moving forward

Sharon D. McIvor — Instructor-Academic Studies, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Merritt

  • Treaty 8 and laws on the land

Caleb Behn, JD — Fort Nelson First Nation, Calgary

Witness Observations and Reflections

Closing Remarks From the Chairs

M. Louise Mandell, QC, LLD (hon) — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver
Ardith A. (Walpetko We'dalx) Walkem — Walkem & Associates, Chilliwack