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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. More

Aboriginal Law: Notable Cases

Guerin v. The Queen, [1984] SCR 335
The Guerin decision established the legal precedent that the Government of Canada can owe a fiduciary duty to Aboriginal people. Based upon the controversial surrender of Musqueam land in British Columbia for the purposes of building a golf course.

Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Minister of Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48
The Grassy Narrow First Nation challenged the Ontario government for issuing of a forestry license to a pulp and paper company because it fell on a portion of Treaty 3 land.

Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), 2004 SCC 73
The Minister of Forests attempted to transfer a parcel of land on the Haida Gwaii without consulting the Haida Nation. The case highlighted the legal (and moral) obligation of a government body to consult with First Nations groups during a land transfer negotiation.

Williams v. Canada, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 877
The decision concerned whether the appellant's unemployment benefits should be taxable, given his First Nations status and the fact that the source of his income was his Band. The decision established new precedents for assessing whether EI benefits should be taxable.

Calder et al. v. Attorney-General of British Columbia, [1973] SCR 313
Pre-Charter decision that opened the door to negotiations between the federal government of Canada and First Nations concerning rights to land and resources. Considered by most legal scholars as the foundational decision of modern Aboriginal Law.

R v. Morris, 2006 SCC 59
Two members of the Tsartlip Nation in British Columbia were charged with hunting during prohibited hours (night hunting). They challenged this finding based on hunting rights established by the North Saanich Treaty of 1852.

R. v. Sparrow, [1990] 1 SCR 1075
The appellant was charged with using a fishing net that was in violation of his Band's food and fishing license. He appealed on the basis that the imposed restrictions violated his Aboriginal rights as outlined by s. 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Alberta (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development) v. Cunningham, 2011 SCC 37
The claimants were members of the Peavine Métis Settlement in Alberta who had been denied medical benefits because they were not considered "status Indians" under the Indian Act.

Daniels v Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2016 SCC 12
This decision legally clarified and extended federal jurisdiction to the Métis people and non-status Indians (MNSI). The Supreme Court determined that the term "Indian" under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 should include MNSI.

Liaison Librarian

Matthew Renaud's picture
Matthew Renaud
E.K. Williams Law Library
(204) 474-6371