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Supreme Court to hear Charter appeal testing Indigenous residency rules – The Globe and Mail

Feb 06, 2023

Cindy Dickson was born and raised in Yukon’s northernmost community of Old Crow, but left for an education and job opportunities. Today, she is the founding director of an international forum in which eight countries address issues in the Arctic.

And she wants to give back to Old Crow by running for office. The Constitution of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation requires, however, that she return to Old Crow, a fly-in community north of the Arctic Circle, if she wins a seat. And for many reasons, including her teenage son’s need to have medical care close by, she prefers to stay in Whitehorse, 800 kilometres to the south.

On Tuesday, Ms. Dickson’s legal challenge to the residency requirement will be front and centre at a hearing of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. Her case could set a precedent that will last for years, perhaps decades, legal observers say. It’s about whether self-governing First Nations have the right to make decisions according to Indigenous values and traditions – even if that means violating Charter rights and freedoms.

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