The Calder Case: Setting A Precedent for Indigenous Canadian Constitutional Relations

Seamus McConville

Abstract


Indigenous-State Relations around land claims in Canada have been an area of significant debate throughout the past fifty years. Often, the land claims process that the Indigenous nations had to work through was one that was not conducive to a proper settlement. In the case of the Nisga’a and their land claims case during the 1970s, the Nation challenged the system that had held them from asserting their sovereignty, providing a way for the Nisga’a and other Indigenous nations to not only sign treaties, but assert their own rights as well. This landmark case ultimately saw the Nisga’a utilize their oral histories to prove their occupancy on the lands, helping invalidate the state’s claim that the lands had been empty prior to the arrival of settlers in the 19th century.

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