Culture and the Courts: A New Direction in Canadian Jurisprudence on Aboriginal Rights?
Michael Murphy a1 a1 University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
This article explores the implications of changes in Canadian Supreme Court jurisprudence on Aboriginal rights since the 1990s. While recognizing the Court's valuable contributions in the period from Calder to Sparrow, the author argues that the 1996 Van
Peet decision deals a serious blow to the legal status of Aboriginal rights, particularly the right to self-government. The standard of legal recognition established in Van
Peet constitutes a decided step back from the Court's prior jurisprudence, and is insufficient as a means of securing its stated ends: the survival and well-being of Aboriginal communities and cultures. The author concludes by arguing that the Court can repair the recent damage it has done to Aboriginal rights by revisiting the concept of the quasinational status granted to Aboriginal peoples within the context of the sui generis Crown-Aboriginal relationship.