Over twenty years ago, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights were included in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. They provided the basis for recognition of the unique status of Indigenous Peoples within Canada. After four first ministers' conferences on Aboriginal Constitutional Matters failed to produce any substantial agreement between Indigenous Peoples and Canada, the precise meaning and content of Section 35 has remained unclear. As a result, Section 35 has been largely defined through a series of court cases, but despite these cases, many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people continue to have different visions of the possibilities and limitations of Section 35. Box of Treasures or Empty Box? brings together these voices to explore community, political, legal and academic perspectives on whether or not Section 35 has helped or hindered Indigenous Peoples' aspirations for Self-Determination and Nationhood.
Contributors include Halie Bruce, Arthur Manuel, Louise Mandell, Mark Stevenson, Catherine Bell, Robert Paterson, Ian Waddell, Lee Maracle, John Borrows, Millie Poplar, James Tully, Douglas Harris, Cheryl Knockwood, June McCue and Ardith Walkem.
Ardith Walkem is a lawyer belonging to the Nlaka'pamux Nation in the interior of British Columbia. Ardith's practice focuses almost exclusively on Aboriginal Title and Rights. She is interested in public legal education, legislative policy analysis, and hunting and water rights. Ardith also developed and delivered a course on Indigenous political theory at the Institute of Indigenous Government. She has written articles and reports, including "First Nations and Old Growth Values." Ardith earned a bachelor of laws at the University of British Columbia and a bachelor of arts at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and a master's degree in law at the University of British Columbia with a focus on Aboriginal Peoples' oral histories. Ardith co-edited Box of Treasures or Empty Box? Twenty Years of Section 35.
Halie Bruce is a member of the 'Namgis First Nation of northern Vancouver Island. She was called to the Bar in 2008. Her practice areas include Aboriginal law, family law, child welfare, fisheries law, Indigenous laws and governance, and Aboriginal business law. She has devoted part of her practice to restorative justice, including writing Gladue Reports for bail, sentencing and appeal courts in British Columbia. Halie co-edited Box of Treasures or Empty Box? Twenty Years of Section 35.
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