Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Rights
Cavalluzzo acts for Indigenous clients to advance their Indigenous rights and interests in the Canadian legal system. We advocate for the advancement and protection of collective Aboriginal and treaty rights, including Indigenous sovereignty and legal traditions and orders, and Indigenous peoples' individual rights through various legal and political fora, including domestic courts and tribunals, nation-to-nation negotiation tables, and international human rights bodies. We are committed to working with Indigenous clients to identify and eliminate constraints on their inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination, and to assist them in navigating the legal web of Canadian laws and policies.
Our expertise encompasses protecting Aboriginal and treaty rights through negotiation, litigation, the Specific Claims process, public commission and inquest work, and the domestic assertion of international Indigenous rights principles, including self-determination and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Our negotiation and litigation practice for Indigenous clients draws upon Cavalluzzo's expertise in constitutional, administrative, and regulatory law by bringing together teams of lawyers across our different practice areas to meet our Indigenous clients' diverse needs in areas of health, human rights, and resource management.
Notable representations include:
- Williams Lake Indian Band v. Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development), in which the Firm represented the Specific Claims Tribunal as an intervenor at the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court considered whether the Specific Claims Tribunal had the right to award monetary compensation for claims arising from the Crown’s failure to designate certain lands that were the traditional territory of the Williams Lake Indian Band as exempt from pre-emption. The Court upheld the tribunal’s award and confirmed its ability to recognize such claims and compensate claimants for their losses.
- Canada v. Kitselas First Nation, in which the Firm represented the Specific Claims Tribunal as an intervenor at the Federal Court of Appeals on an application for judicial review of the Tribunal’s decision recognizing the Kitselas First Nation’s claim for beach of fiduciary duty related to exclusion of a parcel of land in a reserve identified in 1891. The Court upheld the Tribunal’s decision and dismissed the judicial review application.