‘Because it does not make sense’
Sovereignty’s power in the case of Delgamuukw v. The Queen 1997
in Law, history, colonialism
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This chapter analyzes the Supreme Court's decision in Delgamuukw v. The Queen. It argues that the Court's unreflective acceptance of Crown sovereignty perpetuates 'the historical injustice suffered by aboriginal peoples at the hands of the colonizers who failed to respect the distinctive cultures of pre-existing aboriginal societies'. This danger flows from the case despite its extraordinarily progressive attempt to recognize and facilitate indigenous legal pluralism within Canada. The Court negatively uses sovereignty to define the terrain on which aboriginal peoples must operate if they are going to dispute the Crown's actions in Canadian courts. The Supreme Court drew heavily on British assertions of sovereignty in defining the content, protection and proof of aboriginal title. Canadian sovereignty is extended over aboriginal peoples when courts receive and interpret 'factual' evidence from aboriginal litigants.

Law, history, colonialism

The reach of empire

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