Skip to Main Content

Indigenous Studies: Primary Sources - Aboriginal Law

About Primary Legal Research Sources

  • Primary sources of law are the laws and regulations themselves. These include: constitutions, statutes/acts and their amendments, regulations, legal cases and judicial decisions.
  • There are many sources of law/regulations at various political levels and in various locations/areas. This is called jurisdiction.
  • When consulting primary legal sources it's important to be clear on the jurisdiction of interest. Consider whether the legislation is at the federal, provincial or municipal level.
  • Be aware that law changes over time through amendments and new case law. Make sure the resource you are consulting is appropriate to the point in time you are researching.




Constitution - Canada

In Canada the Constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 1867 and the Constitution Act of 1982.

Cases/Law Digests - Relevant to Aboriginal Law

Legal Research Tip

Start by consulting secondary sources (e.g, books, journal articles, encyclopedias). These sources contain broad overviews or explanations of the law and will direct you to specific primary sources  (e.g, legislation, case law, etc.).

What is a Treaty?

A treaty is a compact made between two or more independent nations. Treaties between the Dominion of Canada and First Nations peoples have been framed by the exchange of certain rights. Comprehensive Claims and Specific Claims are considered contemporary forms of treaties.