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The land in so-called Canada has always been subject to the laws and legal systems of Indigenous Peoples.
Indigenous law survived the arrival of Europeans and the impacts of colonization, as well as decades-long efforts on the part of Canadian governments to suppress, criminalize and deny its existence.
In recent years there has been a resurgence of Indigenous law across Canada, along with a growing demand for meaningful recognition and respect for Indigenous rights under Canadian law.
As a consequence, courts have been increasingly called upon to grapple with the issue of whether and how to recognize and implement Indigenous laws within the Canadian legal system. These efforts, and the hard questions that come with them, will play a crucial part in the process of decolonization.
Below, we consider the status of Canadian courts’ treatment of Indigenous law in recent decisions and potential implications in the years to come.
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