Constitutional Forum constitutionnel: Volume 31.2 (2022)

June 3, 2022

Special Issue - Dickson v Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation case

This special issue of the Forum, edited by Associate Professor Amy Swiffen, examines the Yukon Court of Appeal decision in Dickson v Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. 

The Dickson case is ground-breaking, as it considers whether a residency requirement for elected officials by the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation can be shielded from a section 15 Charter challenge by section 25 of the Charter. Section 25 states that rights and freedoms in the Charter "shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada". The Court decided that when the exercise of self-government rights conflict with Charter rights, government power may be shielded from the Oakes test by section 25.

Rather than begin with the Charter as a starting point for approaching the case as the Court did, the authors in this issue begin with recognition of the inherent right of Indigenous peoples to self-govern. The case is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.


  1. Introduction: Special Issue on Dickson v. Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, 2021 YKCA 5
    Amy Swiffen
  2. Checking our Attachment to the Charter and Respecting Indigenous Legal Orders: A Framework for Charter Application to Indigenous Governments
    Naiomi Metallic
  3. Towards a Renewed Relationship: Modern Treaties & the Recognition of Indigenous Law-Making Authority
    Kate Gunn
  4. Dickson v Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Section 25 and a Plurinational Charter
    Amy Swiffen
  5. Doctrine Calling: Inherent Indigenous Jurisdiction in Vuntut Gwitchin
    Ryan Beaton
  6. The Paradox of Political Questions in Canadian Aboriginal Law: Why Dickson v  Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Requires Reconsideration of the Political Questions Doctrine in Canada
    Robert Hamilton
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Centre for Constitutional Studies
448D Law Centre
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2H5
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