Features of aboriginal legal tradition


             Rejection of formality in the expression of law.

             Transmission through the dynamic process of education, in daily life.

             No complex institutions.

             Dissent and possibility to exit.

             Council of elders.

             Informal dispute resolution systems

             Family law: informality. Marriage and divorce are generally consensual.


Relationship with land


             Life close to the land and in harmony.

             No property or dominion over the land.

             Communal or collective enjoyment of land.

             No rights


Criminal Justice

             Crime: responsibility of the whole society

             Injury to a member is an injury to the group.

             Injury caused by a member was the responsibility of the group.

             Reparation by negotiation between groups and by means of payment or equivalent punishment.

             Absent negotiated agreement, blood feud.

             Crime a serious social wound

             Objective: the restoration of the community.

             Sentencing circle.


Devine legal tradition


             Religion: a constant presence

             Absence of formal structures

             Natural world is the best embodiment of religion.

             The natural world is sacred.

             Intergenerational equity


Contemporary Chtonic topics


             Environmental debate

             Legal relations between human beings and land

             Recognition of multiple forms of ownership and use of land

             Criminal law: chtonic people donít have prisons and the Cree, e.g., donít even have a word for guilt. Yet, Chtonic people are the principal occupants of prisons.


Canadian law and Aborinal tradition


Canadian Charter


The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada (including land claims agreements) are hereby recognized and affirmed.