Bruce McIvor is the Principal of First People’s Law. He sits down with Merrell-Ann and Michael to discuss different aspects of Indigenous law. They tackle questions like ‘what are the differences between a chief and a hereditary chief?’ and ‘What is Indigenous Law and how is it different from Aboriginal law?’ Also, how can we best move forward? And Why is land rights so important?
About Our Guest
Dr. Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, is principal of First Peoples Law Corporation, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.
Bruce is dedicated to public education. He recently published the third edition of his collection of essays entitled First Peoples Law: Essays in Canadian Law and Decolonization. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
Bruce is a proud Métis from the Red River in Manitoba. He holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in Aboriginal and environmental history, and is a Fulbright Scholar.Bruce McIvor’s Bio – First People’s Law
In This Episode
- First Peoples Law
- Wet’suwet’en and the proposed pipeline
- Indian Act
- Aboriginal title land
- 2014 Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in decision
- The Federal Recognition of Rights Policy
- Reconciliation Commission Call to Action Number 46
- Haida decision
>> (07:13): There’s not one in Indigenous law, different Indigenous peoples across country have their own laws. And just like with the traditional governance system, those laws existed and predate the colonization of what we now referred to as Canada. So when people are talking about Indigenous law, they’re talking about Indigenous peoples’ own laws, and they’re different, of course, all depending who you’re talking to and who you’re dealing with.
>> (10:06) At the heart of it, it’s about who gets to decide how the land should be used. And this is a fundamental question, not just in BC, but across the country that Indigenous peoples deal with on a daily basis. Who gets to decide, how their lands should be used.
>>(14:01): So if you really want to provide a useful, important service for your clients, it’s not just about zero sum games. It’s not just about confrontation. It’s about getting people together and finding the right conversation. And lawyers can play a really important role in doing that. And personally, that’s a big part of my work across country is trying to have the right conversations.
>>(25:27): This is one of, one of the great ironies is that you’ll have a lot of politicians, Canadians be very proud of how Aboriginal law has developed in Canada. These are all the fundamental principles, when you step back and think who’s borne the weight, borne the responsibility for that? It’s Indigenous people. They’ve borne the cost. It’s not government or industry going off to court filing these cases. It’s Indigenous people, putting their resources iandn time in to it.
>>(29:42): There’s that history of colonialism. It’s not part of the past, it’s part of it’s part of the current day mentality.