Colonialism and the Suppression of Aboriginal Voice

42 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2016

See all articles by D'Arcy Vermette

D'Arcy Vermette

Univerity of Alberta - Faculty of Native Studies

Date Written: 2009


This article examines the silencing of Aboriginal people in Canadian legal discourse. The continued colonization of Aboriginal people is represented in legal decisions which display how Aboriginal laws, evidence, and reasoning are barred from the judicial process. By relying on early precedent the Supreme Court of Canada sanctions the non-participation of Aboriginal people in resolving rights disputes. Moving beyond a historical analysis, legal thought and legal language create barriers which prevent courts from receiving Aboriginal evidence and laws. Contradictions inherent in the study of colonialism also reveal themselves in Canadian law. Even when the Supreme Court attempts to incorporate Aboriginal voice it fails. The potential for progress that was shown in the Calder decision has since been nullified and Aboriginal people continue to face barriers when confronting Canadian law. The author asserts that the continued application of legal power is representative of the ongoing colonization of Aboriginal people. This article is relevant to the Canadian legal community because it addresses serious and persistent underlying issues in the legal treatment of Aboriginal/Crown disputes.

Suggested Citation

Vermette, D'Arcy, Colonialism and the Suppression of Aboriginal Voice (2009). Ottawa Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 2, 2009, Available at SSRN:

D'Arcy Vermette (Contact Author)

Univerity of Alberta - Faculty of Native Studies ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R3

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