Indigenous Law and the Common Law
5 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 2021
Indigenous law does not need to be incorporated into Canadian law by treaty, statute, or judicial pronouncement to be part of the domestic law of Canada. Indigenous law exists and is followed in Indigenous communities. It is living law that predated European colonization and has continued up to the present. However, Canadian judges generally are not familiar with it in the way they are with the common law and civil law. Consequently, when relied upon in court evidence of it has to be presented by the testimony of experts, such as Elders and Indigenous knowledge keepers. This is simply a practical requirement that does not diminish Indigenous law’s status as law.
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