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Comparative Indigenous Law


Principle Legislation - The Indian Act 

The Federal Parliament exercised its jurisdiction under s 91(24) of the Constitution Act 1867  by passing the Indian Act 1876 (SC 1876 c 18). This Act has been amended many times but is still the main statute that codifies Federal legislative powers over a defined group of aboriginal people called Indians (meaning persons entitled to be registered as Indians under the Act (s 2).  The Act does not apply to Inuit (s 4)). 

Finding Legislation

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (now the Indigenous Services Canada) is responsible for administering legislation that impacts on Aboriginal Canadians. 

Constitutional Law & Constitutionally Entrenched Rights 

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is a foundational document in the relationship between First Nations people and the Crown, and laid the foundation for a constitutional recognition and protection of First Nations rights in Canada. The Proclamation defined the land that were to be 'Indian Territories', where First Nations people 'should not be molested or disturbed' by settlers. It also prohibited colonial governors from making any grants or taking any land cessions from First Nations people, and established a set of protocols and procedures for the purchasing of First Nations land. The rights and freedoms contained in the Proclamation is enshrined in s 25 the Canadian Constitution Act 1982. 


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