Native Rights and Law in An Age of Protest


  • Peter A. Cumming



Professor Cumming's article analyzes the aboriginal rights problem in Canada. The author lays the groundwork for his article by discussion of the historical origin and legal status of aboriginal rights. After various comments on the Federal Government's Indian policy (both past and present), the author takes an in-depth look at the position and attitudes of the three types of native peoples affected by the question of aboriginal rights—status Indians, Metis, and Eskimo. In concluding, Professor Cumming examines the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and submits that the Act is an example of truly imaginative social policy in attempting to find fair and equitable solution to the abori ginal rights problem in that State. The author states that native problem exists in Canada, and submits that legislative solution recognizing aboriginal rights is, without qualification, preferable to the judicial type of solution which we appear to be headed towards in Canada. This article is based upon a paper prepared for symposium associated with the official opening of the new Law Centre of The University of Alberta, May and 5, 1972. Significant develop ments have taken place in the subject area since this paper was given. However, this does not affect the validity of the discussion and arguments set forth in the paper. The interested reader is also advised to refer to the preceding article, by Lester and Parker, on the British Common Law concepts of aboriginal rights and its particular application in Australia.