Aboriginal Law & Indigenous Law

Aboriginal law and Indigenous Law intersect with almost every other law in Canada. Our team understands the importance of that intersection, and understanding is essential to getting you positive results in issues involving or focused primarily on Aboriginal and Indigenous law. Our team brings personal proximity to and broad and deep insight regarding the issues underlying the law in relation to First Nations. A cornerstone of our practice is to ensure Anishnaabe culture, traditions, and language as well as the individuality of each First Nation and First Nation entity is protected and fostered.

We believe that, all too often, the adversarial nature of the practice of law overlooks and outweighs practical solutions to disputes which, particularly if such solutions resonate with Aboriginal tradition, could help to resolve conflicts quickly and cost efficiently while preserving working relationships.

We have advised on and can assist you with:


  • First Nations Band By-Laws (enactment, enforcement, and prosecution),
  • First Nations Land Management Act and Regimes and drafting land codes
  • understanding Human Rights Laws and applicability to First Nations,
  • land claims,
  • Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBA’s) in the mining industry,
  • duty to consult and accommodation,
  • constitutional law (Aboriginal rights such as hunting and treaty rights),
  • First Nation election matters and governance disputes,
  • judicial review in Federal Court or Ontario Superior Court of Justice as well as interlocutory injunctions,
  • education law, including establishing First Nation School Boards and Aboriginal educations systems,
  • the administration of Indian Act provisions and wills and estates,
  • First Nation corporations: Partnerships, joint ventures, and sole proprietorships
  • structuring governance to establish roles and responsibilities of stakeholders,
  • human rights complaints on behalf of First Nation people against institutions and others,
  • drafting: 
    • drug testing policies for First Nations and their schools,
    • policies and procedures, codes of conduct, and
    • contracts (employment, partnership etc.)

and many other matters including issues of First Nations peoples. Training on important client matters is a large part of our practice. Rachael speaks Northern Ojibwe fluently and looks for opportunities within her practice to communicate in Ojibwe.

Aboriginal Law

Aboriginal law is created by Canadian courts and legislatures that often constrains the ability of First Nations to create or follow their own (Indigenous) law and procedural rules and norms. This area of law is about the legal relationship between the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the Crown within the Canadian legal system.

Aboriginal is a term used in the Constitution of Canada and includes First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Aboriginal law involves interpretation of Indigenous rights recognized under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and other laws such as the Indian Act or self-government agreements.

Aboriginal law generally includes: treaty negotiation and rights, natural resources, harvesting rights, lands and fisheries, taxation, commercial and economic development, labour law, family law, and criminal law.

Indigenous Law

Indigenous law refers to the unique customs, practices and legal systems or traditions of Indigenous people. Thus, Indigenous law includes laws and legal processes of Indigenous peoples to manage their resources, govern their relationships, and resolve conflicts within and across legal systems. Recent decisions of the Federal Court show a pattern of recognizing Indigenous law as law to be upheld.