The Métis and the Courts: Interrogating Métis-Focused Supreme Court Decisions in Canada

  • Thomas Feth University of Alberta


This paper is broadly concerned with the politics of the Canadian constitution, with its primary focus being the relationship between the Métis and the Supreme Court of Canada. The Métis are one of three Aboriginal groups in Canada that are officially recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982, along with the First Nations and the Inuit. The Act sparked a new era of Canadian jurisprudence and Indigenous activism through the courts. Despite the hopes of the Métis, major Supreme Court decisions vis-à-vis Métis issues since 1982 have been questionable if not problematic. This paper discusses Métis identity, jurisdiction, equality rights, and the question of Métis title in relation to four Supreme Court decisions. The paper aims to provide an overview of the most pertinent issues and cases in Métis constitutional law, while arguing that Métis-focused Supreme Court decisions have done little to improve the position and status of the Métis people in Canadian society, while some judgements have even undermined them.