“Tsilqhot’in is another example of the Supreme Court of Canada attempting to remedy the wrongs of the past, while Parliament fails to supply a more definitive law regarding Indigenous title.”
Boo Dodson, a UW Law student and Canadian Studies FLAS fellow in French, has used the FLAS fellowship to acquire advanced skills in French and knowledge of Indigenous law topics in Canada. He recently wrote about his current research project in Indigenous title law in Canada:
“In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia that the Tsilhqot’in Nation had a claim of Aboriginal title to their traditional lands, and disallowed provincial claims for logging without approval from the title-holder. The decision expanded avenues for Indigenous Peoples to claim title rights on land. The case somewhat changed Indigenous title law in Canada and has implications for resource extraction disputes, particularly in British Columbia. Last quarter, I decided to analyze the rule of law implications of the Tsilhqot’in decision. There are many definitions of the rule of law, but it is most commonly defined as the level at which individuals and institutions are equally subject to the law. Using the definitions of a few known rule of law scholars, I analyzed whether Tsilhqot’in improved rule of law within in Canada. Unfortunately, though well-intentioned, and undoubtedly an expansion of Aboriginal title, the case did little to repair the long simmering tensions between Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s Western legal institutions. Tsilqhot’in is another example of the Supreme Court of Canada attempting to remedy the wrongs of the past, while Parliament fails to supply a more definitive law regarding Indigenous title. Tsilhqot’in is not as ameliorative or as sweeping as the prior decision in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia (1997), and unfairly excludes Indigenous bands inside the Numbered Treaties, but it does increase avenues for legal remedy to communities who were long left without legal recourse. After researching these rule of law implications last quarter, I am now building on my research and comparing Canadian constitutional law with the United States’ constitutional treatment of Indigenous Peoples. I look forward to continuing my exploration into Indigenous legal issues in Canada.”
FLAS Fellowships are funded by the International and Foreign Language Education Office of the U.S. Department of Education. FLAS fellowships support undergraduate, graduate and professional students in acquiring modern foreign languages and area or international studies competencies. Students from all UW departments and professional schools are encouraged to apply. Find out more about the FLAS Fellowship here.