Interpretation of Treaties with Indigenous Peoples

AuthorSusan Barker, Erica Anderson
chapter nine
Interpretation of Treaties with Indigenous
Treaties with Indigenous peoples are “are agreements made between
the Government of Canada, Indigenous groups and oen provinces
and territories that dene ongoing rights and obligations on a
sides.”1 ere are two (or more) equal partners to every treaty, as treat-
ies were, and are, “the primary means by which diplomatic relations
were conducted between Britain [and then Canada] and Aboriginal
peoples.”2 In addition, treaty rights are constitutionay “recognized
and armed”3 by section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. As with
statutes, if there is disagreement about the meaning of a treaty, the
courts wi be expected to interpret that meaning.
Ideay, when the courts are considering the meaning of a treaty,
both parties’ understanding of the terms of the treaty should be con-
sidered equay. However, this has not always been the case. As Bor-
rows and Rotman note:
1 Government of Canada, “Treaties, Agreements and Negotiations,” online:
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Aairs Canada
2 John J Borrows & Leonard I Rotman, Aboriginal Legal Issues: Cases, Materials &
Commentary, 5th ed (Markham, ON: LexisNexis Canada, 2018) at 281 [Borrows &
Rotman, Aboriginal Legal Issues].
3 Constitution Act, 1982, s 35, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c11.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT