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Indigenous perspectives in the courtroom

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All around the world, indigenous peoples struggle to ascertain their rights to the lands they have traditionally occupied. Court litigation is one possibility for indigenous peoples to seek the affirmation of these rights. However, such proceedings present many challenged for indigenous claims, in particular with regard to evidentiary rules. While courts have long favoured the written word, indigenous peoples can often only rely on their oral history and traditions to prove their extensive relationship to the land in question. In order to assess indigenous claims fairly, there is a need for adapting the court procedures and general approach to the specificities of these claims.

Keywords: aboriginal title; indigenous rights; legal pluralism; oral evidence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2012


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