Aboriginal Law

Module code: M3000
Level 6
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

This module will explore the broader constitutional context in which liberal law encounters Aboriginal issues, specificaly related to Aboriginal sovereignty and self-government, colonial and imperial doctrines, and Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The module will introduce you to a range of methodical techniques (cartography, ethnography, travel-writing, land/population surveys) through which Aboriginal lands were represented as terra nullius and its people subhuman.

You will explore how these ‘cultural narratives’ contributed to the development of Canadian and Australian law as it relates to Aboriginal people.

The themes of self-government and self-determination will be explored in depth, and you will have a chance to compare how liberal law constructs these principles in distinct contrast to Aboriginal perspectives.

This module will provide you with a broader understanding of the social antagonisms and cultural processes through which Aboriginal law has been constructed, and will give you an opportunity to evaluate the potential that liberal law has for addressing contemporary issues related to cultural diversity and legal pluralism.

Module learning outcomes

  • Explain and critically analyse the effects of colonialism and racial discrimination on Aboriginal peoples’ access to justice in different jurisdictions.
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge about the development of Aboriginal rights in different jurisdictions.
  • Critically assess different social and legal justice issues faced by Aboriginal communities in different jurisdictions.
  • Develop a coherent, written argument using legal terminology and drawing on existing law and/or key academic literature in the area of Aboriginal rights.