Mi’kmaw law is based on the understanding that things in life are interconnected, known to many Mi’kmaq as “Netukulimk”. This law describes the rights and responsibilities of the Mi’kmaq with their families, communities, nation, and eco-system.  Mi’kmaq law has been shaped by our treaties whose sacred promises area a basis for our relationship with European settler nations.  These treaties have been entrenched in the laws of Canada and recognized and affirmed by the Constitution of Canada as the supreme law within country; however, Mi’kmaw laws extend beyond the imagined boundaries created by the colonizers. 

As part of the ongoing pursuit of treaty implementation, in the absence of provincial proactive statutes, several court cases have set out to clarify what the rights of the Mi’kmaq mean to individuals, corporations or provinces as the Courts of Canada attempt to reconcile Aboriginal and treaty rights.  Throughout this process legal experts have attempted to advocate for and explore this journey and featured on this page will be some of the authors who have explored the relationships between colonizers’ law and Mi’kmaw law.     


Suggested Case Law:


REX v. SYLIBOY[1929] 1 D.L.R. 307 (also reported: (1928), 50 C.C.C. 389)

Treaty of 1752 was not in reality a treaty (overturned in Simon)


Simon v the Queen - Simon v. The Queen, [1985] 2 SCR 387

Provincial law cannot go against Treaty Right.


R v Donald Marshall – R. v. Marshall, [1999] 3 SCR 456

Mi’kmaq’s have right to fish for commercial use.


Suggested Books:


Mi’kmaq Treaties on Trial

History, land and Donald Marshall Junior – William C. Wicken

 University of Toronto Press, 2002


Justice Denied

The law versus Donald Marshall – Michael Harris

Macmillan of Canada, 1986.



Law resources available. View All


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