Reconciliation Through Relationality in Indigenous Legal Orders


  • Alan Hanna JD (University of Victoria), PhD Candidate in Law (University of Victoria).



Canada’s reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and groups in Canada is an ambitious goal with little in the way of clear direction. Canadian courts have provided limited direction in their decisions, yet the result of litigation has imposed a concept of reconciliation based on First Nations remaining subordinate to state authority and interests. Reconciliation will be confounded without gaining a shared understanding with Indigenous peoples. Different Indigenous groups will have their own interpretation of what reconciliation may require to be successful. One approach to seeking common understandings is for Canadians to learn
how relationality operates as a function of disparate Indigenous legal orders. While substantive research into Indigenous legal orders is relatively new in Canadian scholarship, there is much knowledge to be gleaned from interdisciplinary research, particularly in anthropology, from the early twentieth century. At the risk of presenting an abrupt shift in disciplinary paradigms in this article, the author follows a thread of relationality from Canadian courts through the lens of doctrinal jurisprudence into relationality within various Indigenous legal orders through anthropological study. Combined, the article offers a potential path to reconciliation through relationality within Indigenous legal orders.