RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

Mapping Justice – Groundbreaking Indigenous Legal cases

On the Shoulders of Giants

This interactive map and resource guide outlines the major precedent-setting cases that support the work RAVEN and our Indigenous partners are carrying out. 

Find cases on the map, or browse the articles about each major Indigenous legal precedent summarized here. These landmark rulings become the ground beneath our feet as we work for justice and look to a future where rights are respected and Indigenous governance and legal frameworks are upheld. 


Precedent Setting Legal Victories

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”


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.


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)

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.”


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. 


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 Trust 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.

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