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.