Review – 5/21/2013
• Indigenous law – storytelling – legal pluralism
• All of us have our own ideas of about what law is.
• Law is kind of big system of ideas so it’s a way of thinking, way of seeing the world, and
what it does often is that It contains some very rigid ideas of about who we are in society
• Ofvol – our legal system is supposed to be value free, not based on any one particular
world view, supposed to be neutral, objective and iunbias. Creating a fair system that
works to promote and protect justice, it does this by trying to treat everybody as if they
are exactly the same.
• Offficla version of law – idea representation of what its supposed to do.
• Law – judges, lawyers, csi agents, regular people – big complex system of ideas
• Who might like the official version of law?
• Perhaps the people who created the system – judges, lawyers, etc.
• Question whether the official version of law works for those outside the dominant group,
does it work for everybody in society?
• Those who created and structured our legal system really often continued to benefit from
the way it works. Its possible the way our legal system works pushes people to the
margins of society and keeps them from enjoying the same benefits, power, protection
as the dominant group.
• If people out there and worried about big things in our society like racism, sexism, class
based inquality, then you are gonna start to see areas where you can say the official
version of law may not quite totally cut it.
• Official version of law says one you come into the door you are all equal. Not everybody
comes to the room in the same situation. This could lead to strange results.
• Put law and society together, study their interaction, how theyre dynamic related to one
• Articles: how often law is either unable to think about and to recognize peoples
differences. It has trouble when it realizes that we are not all the same. System of law
also has trouble hearing stories how our socity is structured in a way where there are
hierachys and inqualitys. First hint that maybe our legal system is built upon some
values. These values don’t exists out in the open. Run below the surface. Hard to see.
• Incremental change • Bringing hidden transcrips to light
• How does this person think things are going in society? What issues are they concerned
with? Do they want radical change?
• Depending on who you are, youll have a sense of whether law is fair and just
• How and why law is complex and complicated and contradictory
• Indigenous law – storytelling – pluralism
• Aboriginal people were sobrant – self determining people – as a group nobody needed
to tell them how to run their affairs – had a fully functioning culture, languages and
institutions. However based on some very racist ideas about what civilization should look
like and how a society should be run, ideas about religion, ideas that revolved around
desire to control land or resources. European settlers used the law to make aboriginal
people invisible. Our system of law stepped in as an authority in all of their authorities,
told them they were unable to look after themselves. Our legal system said that the
aboriginal way of life didn’t count as real in Canada, wasn’t something considered to be
• The indian act – very coercive piece of legislation took over their life. They could not
legally practice their means of substancinse. Their spiritual beliefs were criminal. Overall
they had to listen to Canadian authorities or face the consequences. Ex. Fined or put in
• Law told us then a particular story about Canada. told us a very skewed picture of what
is happening in Canada. it not only decreased actual numbers of aboriginal people but
forced them to give up their ways of thinking and practicing life.
• What we see is our legal system attacking the aboriginal way of life
• Is the Canadian legal system value free?
• Does our legal system leave room for groups to have different ideas about how to live
• Does our legal system allow everyone to practice their beliefs, not all the time.
• European Canadians wanted to establish that they had complete control of Canadian
land and resources. They were very powerful because they had force to do this, military,
police power etc.
• Use law In a systematic way • European Canadians using force that their system of law was the only one that existed
in Canada. aboriginal communities continue to exists but lack of opportunity and
• Social legal critique says poverty, environmental degragation is dependency created by
• So authoritative that many of us might think that these conditions are just a fact of life for
first nations people. It’s the fault of the first nations people that the yare in this position –
we find fault with them instead of law and society that