The Law of the Community and Community Rights: Implications for the Métis in Canada


  • Natacha Gagné
  • Claudie Larcher
  • Sébastien Grammond



This paper is based on the result of a qualitative content analysis of the transcripts of the Hirsekorn trial which took place from 4 May 2009 to 24 June 2010 before the Provincial Court of Alberta. The case was based on the framework established in the Powley case, handed down in 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada’s first decision on Métis rights. In defence, the accused asserted an aboriginal right to hunt protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Hence, the judges had to render a decision on the Métis identity of the accused and his membership in a rights-holding Métis community. The main question at issue then becomes the existence of such a community. In this paper, the authors analyze the concept of “community” as a legal category and as a holder of rights. They highlight the various definitions given to that concept by the Crown and the defence and their implications. This analysis follows the path of anthropological work regarding the concept of “community.”