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ALGONQUIN NOTIONS OF JURISDICTION: INSERTING INDIGENOUS VOICES INTO LEGAL SPACES

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ABSTRACT.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal notions of geography, nature and space sometimes compete, and these differences can create barriers to joint environmental problem-solving. This paper examines the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and Allies (AAFNA) and the strategies they used in juridical and legislative settings to make their voices heard. In the Tay River Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (2000–2002), AAFNA attempted to introduced their knowledge of the environmental deterioration which would be caused by a Permit To Take Water issued to a multinational corporation by the Ontario Ministry of Environment. The paper is divided into two parts: first, it describes the concepts of Algonquin knowledge, jurisdiction and responsibility; second, it explores the strategies used to integrate their perspective into legal proceedings constructed by the Canadian government. This case reveals how some Algonquin people conceive of space and responsibility in deeply ecological, rather than narrowly juridical, terms. It establishes that their broad concepts of knowledge, land and jurisdiction are incompatible with existing Euro-Canadian divisions of legal responsibility and ecological knowledge, but at the same time can serve as the means by which they challenge the current structure of Aboriginal and Canadian relations.
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Keywords: Alonquin; Indigenous; jurisdiction; knowledge; legal space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Queen's University Kingston, ON Canada, Email: [email protected] 2: University of Saskatchewan Department of Geography 9 Campus Drive Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N5A5, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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