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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sketches four phases or eras that characterize the changing state of debate regarding Indigenous legal traditions and highlights the progress and ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous people in trying to recover these legal traditions as part of their decolonization and self-determination efforts. It begins by setting out a logical starting point from which to root the discussion about Indigenous legal traditions. Attention then turns to the repression of Indigenous legal traditions during early colonization and the resilience of these traditions through this dark period, along with the contemporary recovery and revitalization of Indigenous laws despite the limited spaces afforded to them by state justice systems. The chapter looks at the wetiko (also known as windigo) in order to highlight the broader issues all Indigenous legal traditions have had to contend with through the four eras described. The Indigenous experiences are examined in relation to Canada’s criminal justice system.

Keywords: indigenous legal traditions, indigenous people, decolonization, self-determination, indigenous laws, wetiko, Canada, criminal justice system, repression, revitalization

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