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Aboriginal Rights Notes

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This is an extract of our Aboriginal Rights document, which we sell as part of our Aboriginal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Victoria; University Of Toronto students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Aboriginal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Aboriginal Rights Interpretative Approach to s. 35 (Sparrow)
- rights are not frozen: must be interpreted as an evolving, adapting to new contexts
- the court must take a purposive, liberal approach to ensure rights claims are not static: must look at the analysis in light of the underlying reasons behind se. 35(1) rights protections: recognition of prior occupancy and reconciliation bw aboriginal peoples living in distinctive societies, with their own practices, traditions and cultures, and the sovereignty of the crown (VDP)
- hence there is a generous and liberal interpretation in favour of aboriginal peoples
- this stems from the fiduciary relationship between aboriginal people and the crown
- takes into account the aboriginal perspective to determine the meaning of the right at stake
- CRITIQUES of espoused commitment to incorporating FN rights: o This is limited as the perspective must be framed in terms that are cognizable to the Canadian legal and constitutional structure which such is the decision in Marshall and Bernard, are not serving reconciliation very well o There is a question on how it is to be cognizable to the Canadian system of common law, especially if common law can change and be fluid and dynamic, and is supposed to include 'customary' law o True reconciliation is supposed to align the two systems together, so fitting one into the other is not reconciling o Macklem and Ash: cts relying on an contingent as opposed to inherent approach to rights, e.g. in Sparrow Origins of Rights (Sparrow)
- basis for s. 35(1) rights do not come from the constitution; they existed prior to CA 1982; existed pre contact
- rights exist because they come from aboriginal law, governance, practices and traditions
- rights were independent and existing and did not depend on the recognition of them by Canadian authorities (Calder, Cote, Adams, VDP)
- they exist in Canadian law not because of governmental recognition but because they were not extinguished or conquered
- part of common law and constitutional law
- rights were affirmed through the original treaty process Scope, Nature of Rights (Sparrow)
- aboriginal rights cover a spectrum of rights from practices, traditions and customs, integral to the distinctive cultures of aboriginal peoples to activities that must take place on the land which confer to the land itself (title), or rights that fall on a spectrum with respect to their degree of connection to the land (VDP)
- are sui generis
- scope and content not determined by govt reg


govt can regulate s. 35 rights but regulation must meet s. 35 standards for infringement not subject to s. 1 of the CH, but not absolute, must be read w federal powers can be both procedural (e.g. consultation) and substantive (e.g. hunting) (Mikisew) can be freestanding or site specific "existing" means unextinguished: constitutionalization does not revive extinguished rights

Test (Sparrow as elucidated in VDP)

1. Requirements of Establishing a Right (onus: FN)
-test to identify whether an applicant has established a right protected by s. 35(1) (Sparrow):
-i. unextinguished (see below)
-ii. consistently exercised
-iii. the activity must be an element of a practice, custom or tradition integral to the distinctive culture of the aboriginal group claiming the right
-10 guidelines for defining "integral to distinctive culture:" (VDP)

1. perspective of FN must be given = weight to CL:
-in order to reconcile sovereignty w prior occupation
-lt: FN perspective or law must be cognizable

2. precise nature of the right must be identified:
-significance of the practice must be delineated
-3 factors: i. nature of the action, as described by the claimant ii. nature of the legislation or governmental action alleged to infringe the right, either via purpose or in effect iii. the ancestral tradition or practice relied upon to establish the right
-the activity in question must be an expression of the right claimed (Mitchell)
-the rights claim must be specific and not general, must identify the exact nature of the activity (Pamejawon- no general right to self govt)
-do not characterize the right as a right to a particular resource bc that would make the right look like a CL property right, while FN rights are sui generis (S/G)
-Sparrow: exchanging fish for money
-Sappier and Gray: the right to use a resource for a particular use as a member of a FN community

2. practice must be of central, defining significance:
- "but for" the cultural would not be the same

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