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Indigenous Studies: Indigenous Law

Assembly of First Nations

Aboriginal Law -- Search Strategies

Questions to consider when finding materials relevant to the study of legal impacts on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) peoples:

  • Are you seeking legal documents such as acts of legislation, statutes or regulations, or cases for such laws? (Use Primary sources - Aboriginal Law)
  • Are you seeking legal definitions, overviews of concepts or ideas, reviews, commentary or analysis of the law? (Use Secondary sources - Aboriginal Law)
  • Are you seeking legal information relevant in a specific location? Local/ municipal, provincial, federal, international? (Include Jurisdiction in search)


  • Primary sources of law such as the Indian Act or Treaty 7 are available through government websites (e.g., Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada).
  • Case law such as R. v. Friends of the Oldman River Society (1992) are available in print or online reporters (e.g., Canada Supreme Court Reports), or through searching in the Library's legal databases.
  • Analysis of laws and the impact of cases are available in books and journal articles; locate using Library discovery tools (e.g., Summon, Library catalogue) or subject databases. Search Tip: use key terms or concepts rather than case citations for these searches.

Web Resources

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.).

Aboriginal Law -- Relevant Subject Headings

Subject Headings bring together a list of library materials that relate to a particular topic. Below are examples of Subject Headings relevant to topics in Aboriginal Law.