Indigenous Peoples and the Law Analytical Essay by Shaad

Indigenous Peoples and the Law
A discussion of the clash between Western law and indigenous cultures, with a focus on the status and condition of the Inuit under Canadian law.
# 146718 | 3,020 words | 6 sources | APA | 2010 | BD

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The paper offers a brief history of the efforts of Canadian authorities to "convert" the natives and raise the Inuit in missionary schools. The paper then contrasts Western law, with its emphasis on material conditions, with Inuit law, which prizes respect for the elders and harmonious coexistence with nature. The paper focuses on the document of the Ontario government that advises lawyers on how to be conscientious to aboriginal customs, but highlights the intrinsic contradictions that exist between the Western concept of the law and that of the natives. The paper clearly shows how the essence of Inuit traditions largely evades the parameters of Western law.

From the Paper:

"A native community can only be said to be surviving if its traditions remain viable. It is important that we do not reduce the meaning of tradition to some meaningless customs that help only to identify a people, but who are otherwise expected to think and act according to codes of modern and Western civilization. If a tradition is viable it is determining the very content of the society in question, and therefore is also determining its law. The Western ideal of respecting cultural diversity contains a blatant contradiction, because it puts the law, as emerging from a written constitution, above the individual cultures and religions of the people. It is stated that a person may follow a certain culture and religion of his or her choice as long as he is committed to follow the law of the land. In this way the indigenous cultures are rendered meaningless, which facilitates the process of cultural erosion, which some call "cultural genocide". Some native communities fiercely resist this process, and one consequence is the reform of Canadian law that allows for a more conscientious approach to the settlement of affairs that are strictly confined to aboriginal communities."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ennamorato, J. (1998) Sing the brave song, New York, NY: Raven Press.
  • Francis, R. D. & D. B. Smith (2002) Readings in Canadian History: Post-Confederation, Scarborough, ON: Nelson Thomson Learning.
  • Oosten, J., W. Rasing, F. Laugrand, M. Aupilaarjuk (1999) Perspectives on traditional law, Language and Culture Program of Nunavut Arctic College.
  • Osgoode Hall Law School (2008) "Guidelines For Lawyers Acting In Cases Involving Claims Of Aboriginal Residential School Abuse", Legal ethics & professional responsibility, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
  • Magocsi, P. R. (1999) Encyclopedia of Canada's peoples, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Indigenous Peoples and the Law (2011, January 14) Retrieved June 10, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Indigenous Peoples and the Law" 14 January 2011. Web. 10 June. 2023. <>