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MAPPING JUSTICE

Groundbreaking Indigenous Legal cases from coast to coast to coast

This interactive map plots the location of Indigenous Nations across Canada who have worked hard - sometimes over generations - to secure legal wins that protect environmental rights and enshrine reconciliation into law.

ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS

While governments come and go, a legal precedent set in the Supreme Court of Canada is forever.
This resource collects significant Indigenous legal victories that form the backbone for current and future cases brought into Canadian courts. Learn how Nations defined and defended rights — from fishing and hunting rights, to property rights and the right to consultation — through this visual survey of landmark cases.
Click any icon to explore, or browse the posts below to see which of these cases was supported by the RAVEN community.

Legend

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RAVEN supported victories

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RAVEN supported cases

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Past RAVEN cases

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Other cases

Key Legal Terms

Aboriginal Title: “An inherent right, recognized in common law, that originates in Indigenous peoples’ occupation, use and control of ancestral lands prior to colonization."

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/aboriginal-title

Honour of the Crown: The honour of the Crown is a principle of Canadian law, defined by how the Crown conducts itself in its dealings with Indigenous people. It continues to be recognized as an important aspect of Crown conduct in the context of entering into, interpreting and fulfilling obligations with Indigenous people.

-Halsbury’s Laws of Canada – Aboriginal (2016 Reissue) Margaret Buist (Contributor)

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/principles-principes.html

 

Crown: “The government of a country that is officially ruled by a king or queen.” In Canada, this refers to the provincial and federal government.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/the%20crown

 

Indian: “In Canada, “Indian” has legal significance. It is used to refer to legally defined identities set out in the Indian Act, such as Indian Status.”

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/indian

 

Note : This resource does not contain legal advice.  This resource contains general discussion of certain legal and related issues only. If you require legal advice, please consult with a lawyer. PBSC students are not lawyers and they are not authorized to provide legal advice. 

RAVEN Campaigns

Tar Sands Trial

Beaver Lake Cree Nation filed a constitutional challenge over the impacts of multiple tar sands mines and other industrial development in Beaver Lake Cree territory. They are the first community to ever challenge – and be granted a trial on – the cumulative environmental, social, and cultural impacts of industrial development. A win would force…

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The People v. Trans Mountain

THE PEOPLE v TRANS MOUNTAIN Context: The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project aims to construct a pipeline from Edmonton, AB to Burnaby, BC to export Alberta oil internationally. This pipeline would increase oil tanker traffic on the British Columbia Coast by 700%, more than 400 tankers a year. As per the SFU risk…

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Pull Together to Stop Enbridge Northern Gateway

ENBRIDGE Gitxaala Nation v. Canada Year: 2016 Court: Federal Court of Appeal Citation: 2016 FCA 187 Location: BC TAGS: Aboriginal Title; Duty to Consult; Mineral/Mining/Natural Resources; RAVEN Projects are not likely to proceed if governments fail to meaningfully engage with rights and title holders. Summary: In June 2014, Cabinet approved the Northern Gateway Pipeline project.…

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Justice for the Peace: The Site C Case

BC Hydro’s Site C Project Context: BC Hydro’s Site C project is a dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia. If it is completed, Site C will be the third dam built by BC Hydro on the Peace River. The Site C project is on land covered by Treaty…

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First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon

First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon Year: 2017 Court: Supreme Court of Canada Citation: 2017 SCC 58 Location: YT TAGS: Duty to Consult; Modern Treaty Agreements A government does not have the authority to unilaterally modify land use plans contrary to negotiated agreements.  Summary:  Final agreements (treaties) between the federal government, territorial government…

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These case studies were prepared with the assistance of Pro Bono Students Canada, law student volunteers. 

Acknowledgments from the UVic Law Student Team:

We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen-speaking peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

We would like to express our gratitude to the people who made this project possible. We would like to thank Susan Smitten and Andrea Palframan at RAVEN for their support in the creation of this project and for their ongoing dedication; Christopher Devlin at DGW Law for his support in reviewing the legal accuracy of our work; and Linette Lubke and Sarah Pringle for their coordination through Pro Bono Students Canada.