Introductory Indigenous Law Resources
- What is Indigenous Law? A Small Discussion
A discussion about Indigenous law by Val Napoleon. [304kb PDF]
- Indigenous Law 101
Infographic of ILRU methodology with resources. [2.2mb PDF]
- Video: (Re)building Citizenry: Indigenous Legal Resources
Val Napoleon’s keynote speech at BC Progress Summit. [YouTube Video]
- Indigenous Law on Demand
A series of short educational videos to provide critically oriented introductions to important topics in the area of Indigenous law. Includes a corresponding discussion guide.
Coast Salish Laws Relating to Child and Caregiver Nurturance & Safety
NIȽ TU,O Child and Family Services (NIȽ TU,O), in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU), created a Toolkit on Child and Caregiver Nurturance and Safety centred on Coast Salish knowledge and law. The Toolkit hopes to educate and empower families, children, service providers, and agencies to have a better understanding of how to be in supportive community while respecting and honouring Salish law. It is accompanied by a casebook and two activity books.
Note: The abridged casebook is for public use and distribution. A more extensive casebook for community members is available upon request. Please email email@example.com for further information.
NAWENDIWIN: The art of being related – Anishinaabeg Kinship-centred Governance and Family law
The Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle partnered with ILRU over two years to produce this report which shines light on Anishinaabeg kinship-centred governance and family law. The report aims to help Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members and service providers have a greater understanding of how to work with and empower families and children in a way that honours and respects Anishinaabeg laws.
Secwepémc Lands & Resources Law
The ILRU collaborated with the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council to articulate Secwepémc laws relating to land and resources. The final report includes a comprehensive analysis, casebook, and glossary of Secwépemctsín terms used in the analysis. The team also produced a clear language Secwepémc Lands and Resources Law Summary of the legal principles and processes.
Mikomosis and the Wetiko Graphic Novel, Teaching Guide, and Video
The ILRU-designed graphic novel explores Cree and Canadian legal approaches to danger, harm, and wrongdoing through the lens of a fictionalized historical event and is accompanied by a teaching guide. To make this resource more accesible, former ILRU students recorded a telling of the story with images from the graphic novel included.
Gender Inside Indigenous Law Toolkit and Casebook
This toolkit and casebook are designed to generate discussions about Indigenous law and critical gender issues. Included is the Skirt Short video to generate discussion about gender, clothing and identity.
A Toolkit for On-Reserve Matrimonial Real Property Dispute Resolution
A toolkit designed to inform communities and individuals about dispute resolution options, major issues and important questions to consider when developing matrimonial real property laws, including the relevance and applicability of Indigenous legal traditions.
Accessing Justice and Reconciliation (AJR)
The Accessing Justice and Reconciliation Project (AJR Project) was a collaborative research project involving seven different communities across six different legal traditions. The AJR project also supported the development of the Mikomosis and the Wetiko graphic novel and accompanying teaching guide.
Academic Resources & Publications
Selected Academic Works
- “Indigenous Law and Legal Pluralism” (Special Edition of the McGill Law Journal). McGill Law Journal, vol. 61, no. 4, 2016.
Explores the identification of Indigenous law, the (in)ability of Canadian state law to recognize it, and other themes. [Website with access to PDF]
- Askew, Hannah. “Learning from Bear-Walker: Indigenous Legal Orders and Intercultural Legal Education in Canadian Law Schools.” The Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, Vol 33, Issue 1, 2016.
Explores educational strategies for law schools to implement Recommendation #28 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. [Website with access to PDF]
- Borrows, John. “Heroes, Tricksters, Monsters, and Caretakers: Indigenous Law and Legal Education.” McGill Law Journal, vol. 61, no. 4, 2016.
Explores how law professors and others might best teach Indigenous peoples’ law. [Website with access to PDF]
- Borrows, John. “Outsider Education: Indigenous Law and Land-Based Learning.” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016.
Examines pedagogical developments in Canadian law schools related to outdoor education and land-based learning. [Website with access to PDF]
- Borrows, Lindsay Keegitah. Otter’s Journey Through Indigenous Law and Language. UBC Press, 2018.
Explores how Indigenous language revitalization can inform Indigenous legal revitalization. [Website with option to purchase]
- Clifford, Robert YELḰÁTŦE. “WSÁNEĆ Legal Theory and the Fuel Spill at SELEK̵TEL̵ (Goldstream River).” McGill Law Journal, vol. 61, no. 4, 2016.
Explores processes of revitalizing WSÁNEĆ law and understandings of the revitalization of WSÁNEĆ law in the context of this fuel spill at the SELEK̵TEL̵ (Goldstream River). [Website with access to PDF]
- Clogg, J., Askew, H., Kung, E., & Smith, G. (2016). “Indigenous legal traditions and the future of environmental governance in canada.” Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, 29, 227-256.
Provides an introduction to sources of Indigenous law and the theoretical underpinnings of Indigenous law-based approaches to contemporary environmental management in Canada. [Website with access to PDF]
- Friedland, Hadley. “Reflective Frameworks: Methods for Accessing, Understanding and Applying Indigenous Laws.” Indigenous Law Journal, Vol. 11, no. 1, 2012.
Outlines methodology and approaches used to engage with Indigenous laws. [348kb PDF]
- Friedland, Hadley. “Waniskā: Reimagining the Future with Indigenous Legal Traditions.” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016.
Re-imagines a future relationship between Indigenous and other legal traditions in Canada through the use of narrative. [Website with access to PDF]
- Friedland, Hadley, and Val Napoleon. “Gathering the Threads: Developing a Methodology for Researching and Rebuilding Indigenous Legal Traditions.” Lakehead Law Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, 2015-2016.
Outlines a framework for research and rebuilding work related to the revitalization of Indigenous laws. [CanLII]
- Friedland, Hadley, Bonnie Leonard, Jessica Asch, and Kelly Mortimer. “Porcupine and Other Stories: Legal Relations in Secwépemcúlecw.” Revue Générale De Droit, vol. 48, no. 1, 2018.
Discusses the the purpose, methods, outcomes and limits of the Secwépemc Lands and Resources Laws project produced in collaboration with the ILRU. [Website with access to PDF]
- Friedland, Hadley Louise. “Reclaiming the Language of Law: The Contemporary Articulation and Application of Cree Legal Principles in Canada.” PhD Thesis, University of Alberta, 2016.
Examines challenges, resources and opportunities for recovering, learning and practicing Indigenous laws and developed a methodology for serious and sustained engagement. [2mb PDF]
- Hanna, Alan. “Spaces for Sharing: Searching for Indigenous Law on the Canadian Legal Landscape.” UBC Law Review, vol. 51, no. 1, 2018.
Explores interactions between multiple legal orders and space for Indigenous law within the Canadian legal landscape. [Website with option to purchase]
- Johnson, Rebecca, and Lori Groft. “Learning Indigenous Law: Reflecting on Working with Western Inuit Stories.” Lakehead Law Journal, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017.
Discusses opportunities for critical engagement with Indigenous law based on experiences working with Western Inuit law at the ILRU. [CanLII]
- Lindberg, Darcy. “Imaginary passports or the wealth of obligations: seeking the limits of adoption into indigenous societies.” AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, vol. 14, no. 4, 2018.
Examines Indigenous laws and legal orders to provide accountability for disingenuous use of adoption into an Indigenous society. [Website with access to PDF]
- Lindberg, Darcy. “Miyo Nêhiyâwiwin (Beautiful Creeness) Ceremonial Aesthetics and Nêhiyaw Legal Pedagogy.” Indigenous Law Journal, Vol. 16/17, no. 1, 2018.
Outlines how aesthetics influence Nêhiyaw legal pedagogy and plays a significant role in ensuring the survival of Nêhiyaw legal practices. [Website with access to PDF]
- Morales, Sarah. “Locating Oneself in One’s Research: Learning and Engaging with Law in the Coast Salish World.” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, vol. 30, no. 1, 2018.
Explores Coast Salish Law and the use of methodology to outlines ways we can recognize and teach Indigenous law in law schools and professional legal training. [Website with access to PDF]
- Napoleon, Val. “Tsilhqot’in Law of Consent.” UBC Law Review, vol. 48, no. 3, 2015.
A critical look at the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision: Tsilqot’in v. British Columbia. [5mb PDF]
- Napoleon, Val, and Hadley Friedland. “An Inside Job: Engaging with Indigenous Legal Traditions through Stories.” McGill Law Journal, vol. 61, no. 4, 2016.
An introduction to methodology which may be used to respectful and productively engage with Indigenous laws. [Website with access to PDF]
- Napoleon, Val, and Hadley Friedland. “Indigenous Legal Traditions from Roots to Renaissance.” Pursuing Justice: An Introduction to Justice Studies, 2nd ed., edited by Margot Hurlbert, Fernwood Publishing, 2018.
See also this version: Indigenous Legal Traditions: Roots to Renaissance
(by Val Napoleon and Hadley Friedland)
Explores past, present and future debates about Indigenous laws, oppression of Indigenous laws through colonization, and contemporary recovery and revitalization of Indigenous laws today. [Website with access to PDF]
- Napoleon, Valerie Ruth. “Ayook:: Gitksan Legal Order, Law, and Legal Theory.” PhD Thesis, University of Victoria, 2009.
Proposes a Gitksan legal theory through a review and discussion on Gitksan legal order, laws, and law cases. [3mb PDF]
- Snyder, Emily. “Queering Indigenous Legal Studies.” Dalhousie Law Journal, vol. 38, no. 2, 2015.
Examines sex, gender, and sexuality in relation to Indigenous laws to discuss what it means to “queer” Indigenous legal studies. [CanLII]
- Snyder, Emily, Val Napoleon, and John Borrows. “Gender and Violence: Drawing on Indigenous Legal Resources.” UBC Law Review, vol. 48, no. 2, 2015. [CanLII]
A critical engagement with stories to explore the necessity of recognizing violence against women as well as gendered legal realities of Indigenous law. [3mb PDF]
Additional Online Resources
Materials for teaching Indigenous law in the law school classroom.
See: Curricular Pods
This blog is an invitation to law professors across Canada to gather together ideas about resources and pedagogies to support recommendation #28 of the TRC Calls to Action: the call for instructors to rethink both what and how they teach.
University of Victoria, Fraser Blg