Indigenous Legal Traditions and the Future of Environmental Governance in Canada

Indigenous Law
Jessica Clogg
Hannah Askew
Eugene Kung
Gavin Smith

This paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, provides an introduction to sources of Indigenous law and the theoretical underpinnings of Indigenous law-based approaches to contemporary environmental management in Canada. It then explores three case studies of Indigenous peoples that have used approaches grounded in their ancestral legal traditions to confront contemporary threats to their lands and waters. These case studies highlight how the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Yinka Dene Alliance have effectively drawn on and enforced their own laws in order to address challenges to the integrity of their respective territories from resource development.

Finally, the paper comments on the significance of this revitalization of Indigenous legal traditions and their application to contemporary environmental problems in light of federal environmental deregulation. It posits that the current revitalization of Indigenous legal traditions should be of interest to anyone concerned with the question of environmental governance in Canada today.


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