Aboriginal Peoples and the Law

A Critical Introduction

By (author) Jim Reynolds
Categories: Law
Publisher: UBC Press
Paperback : 9780774880213, 296 pages, June 2018

Table of contents

1 What Is Aboriginal Law?

2 Historical Background

3 Sovereignty and Aboriginal–Crown Relations

4 Aboriginal Rights and Title

5 Treaties

6 Consultation, Accommodation, and Consent

7 Indigenous and International Law

8 A Just Society?

Notes; Cases Cited; Index

This introduction to contemporary Aboriginal law lays the groundwork for any assessment of Canada’s claim to be a just society for Indigenous peoples.


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission urged a better understanding of Aboriginal law for all Canadians. This book responds to that call, outlining significant legal developments in straightforward, non-technical language. Jim Reynolds provides the historical context needed to understand the relationship between Indigenous peoples and settlers and explains key topics such as sovereignty, fiduciary duties, the honour of the Crown, Aboriginal rights and title, treaties, the duty to consult, Indigenous laws, and international law. He concludes that rather than leaving the judiciary to sort out essentially political issues, politicians need to take responsibility for this crucial aspect of building a just society.


As an introduction, [Aboriginal Peoples and the Law] offers ample contextualization of contemporary developments within the law—including overviews of historical background, treaties, Crown sovereignty, and Aboriginal rights and title—while keeping legal jargon and technical analysis to a minimum. In its efforts to remain accessible to all readers, Aboriginal Peoples and the Law invites all Canadians to participate in this crucial national discourse.

- Olivia Burgess

Reynolds provides a clear and highly readable summary, and critical analysis, of Canadian law as it pertains to Aboriginal and treaty rights, self-government, Aboriginal title, the duty to consult, and to both Indigenous and international sources of law…this is an excellent book for introductory or intermediate-level undergraduate students, and both the layout and useful end-of-chapter summaries make it an ideal choice as a course text.

- Michael Murphy, University of Northern British Columbia

As a lawyer with several decades behind me, I learned something on nearly every page. Most importantly, I appreciated Reynolds’s explanation of the context in which the law has been made through judges’ decisions and also of the relationships between the history and the present and between various sub-fields of Aboriginal law. .. My students, I believe, found Aboriginal Peoples a straightforward and easily-comprehensible explanation of the law that enabled them to get up to speed quickly and to begin to analyse current legal issues.

- Sarah Pike

Because the book is an introduction to modern Aboriginal law, Reynolds avoids using technical legal languages but provides a comprehensive and critical analysis of modern Aboriginal law through extensive resources, including key court decisions, legislation, treaties and agreements, political statements, documents and reports, as well as academic literature.

- Fumiya Nagai, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia