Author Topic: BC v Wet'suet'en  (Read 9729 times)

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Offline Granny

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Re: BC v Wet'suet'en
« Reply #405 on: March 10, 2020, 09:06:53 am »
Activist-backed male chiefs’ attempt to ‘unperson’ female leaders ends up in court --- Female hereditary chiefs who are fighting for the future of their people share their stories in harrowing court documents.

Interesting from several perspectives.

Canada has three founding peoples: Indigenous, French and English.

Canadian Law includes three corresponding legal traditions: Indigenous Law, French Civil Code and English Common Law.

Traditionally, Indigenous Law exists in oral tradition sometimes associated with wampum belt and other forms of recording treaties and Indigenous Laws.

EG1, The principles of Peace, Power and Rightousness of the commonly adopted Indigenous Nations
 Great Law of Peace:

EG2, The over-arching pre-contract treaty among Indigenous peoples, that records Peace, Friendship and Respect among Indigenous Nations, and was also extended to European settlers on arrival in 'the New World',
Two Row Wampum Treaty

The belt consists of two rows of purple wampum beads on a white background. Three rows of white beads symbolizing peace, friendship, and respect separate the two purple rows. The two purple rows symbolize two paths or two vessels travelling down the same river. One row symbolizes the Haudenosaunee people with their law and customs, while the other row symbolizes European laws and customs. As nations move together side-by-side on the River of Life, they are to avoid overlapping or interfering with one another.”

Prior to the Constitution Act (1982) Indigenous Law was not codified into Canadian Law (except, perhaps in some elements of the 'Indian' Act ?).
Following the Constitution Act (1982) that changed:

35. (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.

Elements of Indigenous Law are now codified into Canadian Law with every court case where Aboriginal rights are addressed because they intersect with, and  are "read in" to, and thus become codified in Canadian Law.

This case will be interesting because the issue of "stripping" traditional Chiefs of their titles and duties within an Indigenous Nation does not really intersect with existing Canadian Law, except perhaps in  Delgamuukw (1997) via its recognition of Wet'suet'en  (and Gitxsan) traditional Chiefs as Aboriginal rights holders for the people of their respective nations.

It is also noteworthy that Clan Mothers Councils traditionally hold equal power to male Chiefs Councils, and the power to appoint and to 'de-horn' Chiefs.
I'm not aware of any traditional law where women are appointed as Chiefs, and to me that seems a lessening of their power (but my feelings are irrelevant to their decisions).
The 'power' of a traditional Chief is not authoritarian, but derives from their position as receiver and spokesperson for of consensus decisions by all people within each of their Clans (facilitated by Clan Mothers).

So it will be interesting to see how, or whether,  Canadian courts and Canadian Law will address this intriguing issue of traditional Indigenous leadership.

It is noteworthy that some Indigenous Nations have become mired in white man's patriarchal distortions of leadership that disrespect women's roles and power, so again intriguing to see how these issues will be presented and addressed in white man's court.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2020, 10:09:31 am by Granny »
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