Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Duhaime's Aboriginal Law Dictionary

Keintpuash"If I give up my men that killed the settlers, to let them be tried by your law, will you give up your men that killed our women to let them be tried by our law?"
  • This was the reasonable question posed by Keintpuash, aka "Captain Jack", Chief of the Modoc Indian Tribe, in 1873. Immediately thereafter, Keintpuash killed the US Army General who had agreed to the parlay. The question must, then, have been rhetorical.
  • The terms of aboriginal law worldwide are a reflection of concessions granted to aboriginal people in an effort to salvage or even to compromise a very different way of life - since there was no law dictionary indigent to the aboriginals. This collection of legal terms specific to First Nations have been defined in plain language by a part-Iroquois lawyer (1/16th).

Aboriginal
Pertaining to things or land or person or members of a race, which are indigenous to, or first occupied a specified territory.
Aboriginal Fishing Rights
(Canada) The right of Aboriginals to fish for food, to exchange fish for money or other goods, and to fish commercially.
Aboriginal Title
Indians' exclusive right to use and occupy lands they have inhabited from time immemorial, but that have subsequently become discovered by European settlers.
Band
A group of Indians who share culture and territory and are recognized as a separate government entity for the purposes of limited self-government.
Berdache
A derogatory term used to refer to North American transvestites specifically or homosexuals generally.
Conquest
The acquisition of territory by force of arms.
Consultation Circle
A group of individuals from the accused's community who participate in a forum and discuss the offender and the crime with a view to advising the judge as to sentence.
Dependent Indian Community
(USA) Any area validly set apart for the use of the Indians under the superintendence of the Government.
Existing Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
Canada: those aboriginal and treaty rights as they existed on April 17, 1982.
Existing Indian Family
American aboriginal (Indian) law: an exemption of an otherwise Indian child from statutory entitlements, where that child shows no link to an existing Indian band or family.
Extinguishment
The termination of legal rights.
Gladue Rights
(Canada) Purported special rights available only to Aboriginal offenders on sentencing.
Hawaiian
A descendant of the aboriginal peoples inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands which exercised sovereignty and subsisted in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.
Honour of the Crown
A phrase of Canadian aboriginal law in reference to the sometimes generous attitude the law takes to the definition of aboriginal rights.
Indian
Nomenclature selected by Canada and USA to refer to and define their aboriginal or indigenous people.
Indian Canon
A principle of statutory interpretation that statutes should be construed liberally in favor of Indians.
Indian Child
(USA) Any unmarried individual under 18 who is either (a) a member of an Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in an tribe and is the biological child of a member of a tribe.
Indian Country
(USA) Land within an Indian reservation and all such other dependent Indian territories, and all land acquired by Indians in which tribal and federal laws normally apply and state laws do not.
Indian Law
Treaties, statutes, executive orders, court decisions and administrative actions defining and implementing the relationship between national, state or proivincial governments, and Indian tribes and individuals.
Indian Title
A right of exclusive occupancy in land by Indians.
Indian Tribe
A body of Indians of the same or a similar race, united in a community under one leadership or government, and inhabiting a particular though sometimes ill-defined territory.
Indigenous
Native to a particular territory.
Interjurisdictional Immunity
The purported inability of the Canadian Federal government to legislate in an area assigned by the Constitution to the Provincial government, and vice versa.
Inuit
A person native to the Far North of North America.
Metis
A term of Canadian aboriginal law referring to an individual with mixed white and Indian blood.
Mixed Blood
Persons of half, or more or less than half, Indian blood.
Oral History
The truthful and reliable rendition of Indian or Native customs as they existed before the arrival of Europeans to North America based entirely on community word-of-mouth transmissions of the alleged customs from generation to generation.
Reserve
Government-owned land set aside for the exclusive use of Aboriginal people.
Restorative Justice
An alternate form of dealing with crime by engaging both offender and victim in post-offence mediation.
Sentencing Circle
A sentencing opportunity at which an accused hopes to favourably influence the court passing sentence, by convening a conciliatory pre-sentence meeting between offender and victim.
Sui Generis
Latin: of its own kind.
Treaty
A formal agreement between two states signed by official representatives of each state.
Tribal Sovereign Immunity
(USA) A doctrine that Indian tribes are immune from judicial proceedings without their consent or Congressional waiver.
Tribal Sovereignty
(USA) A doctrine which recognizes Indian tribes' inherent powers to self-govern, to determine the structure and internal operations of the governing body itself, and exemption from state law that would otherwise infringe upon this sovereignty.
Two-Spirited Person
The term used in North American native tradition to refer to an intersex individual.
Wolfing
The killing of wildlife by the use of poison, especially wolves.

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