Municipal Level Reconciliation: Natural Land Features as Legal Persons

23 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2023 Last revised: 29 Jun 2023

Date Written: June 23, 2023


Recently, Mutehekau Shipu, or the Magpie River in Quebec, became the first natural entity in Canada to be granted legal personhood through the Magpie River Resolution. The resolution, passed on February 16, 2021 by the Regional County Municipality of Minganie, explains that rights recognition for nature promotes the recognition of Indigenous legal traditions. Further, the resolution states that Mutehekau Shipu is located in Nitassinan, the traditional territory of the Innu of Ekuanitshit. As such, Minganie and the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit reached an agreement to declare the river as a subject of rights to protect it as a living part of the environment. Mutehekau Shipu was granted fundamental rights and Guardians were appointed to act on behalf of the river and protect its rights. While this is the first case of legal personhood for a natural land feature in Canada, it follows a worldwide trend of recognizing the rights of nature based on Indigenous legal traditions and ontologies. Many Indigenous legal traditions across Turtle Island recognize the rights and personhood of natural land features and animals.

Keywords: Indigenous, Mutehekau, Magpie River, legal personhood, Magpie River Resolution, Reconciliation, Indigenous legal

Suggested Citation

Stavridis, Sarah, Municipal Level Reconciliation: Natural Land Features as Legal Persons (June 23, 2023). Canadian Law Review Research Paper No. 6, Available at SSRN: or

Sarah Stavridis (Contact Author)

Canadian Law Review ( email )


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