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Aboriginal Law & Indigenous Laws

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Law Library Team
William R. Lederman Law Library
128 Union Street Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 2P1

Aboriginal law refers to laws developed by Canadian legislators and courts that applies to Indigenous Peoples and their relationship with the Canadian state. This concept encompasses the Aboriginal and treaty rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, federal jurisdiction under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, and other constitutional authorities, as well as legislation (such as the Indian Act, RSC 1985 c I-5 and several more modern statutes) and common law rules in which Indigeneity is a factor that impacts the applicable law in a given situation.

Indigenous laws refers to the specific legal orders of Indigenous Nations, such as
Mi’kmaq law. These orders continue to grow, evolve, govern affairs in Indigenous communities today, and are among Canada’s founding legal orders.

-From Best Practices for Writing about Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian Legal Context:
An Evolving Style Guide for the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University