Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Douglas C. Harris]

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Canada; Aboriginal rights; constitutional rights; section 35; territoriality; fisheries; colonialism; sovereignty; Haida; Nisga'a; halibut; quotas; Heiltsuk; Stolo; Okanagan; Musqueam


Territoriality describes the communication or assignment of meaning to particular boundaries in order to assert control over a define space. It encompasses the strategies, used by those attempting to maintain control and those seeking to acquire it, to give meaning to the spatial boundaries that demarcate jurisdiction. This chapter explores the competing territorialities of the Canadian state and indigenous peoples in the context of litigation over Aboriginal rights to fish. Access to and management of the fisheries have been and continue to be one of the principal points of conflict between the state and indigenous peoples. The disputes frequently lead the parties to court, and it is here that the competing territorialities, the product of a continuing colonial encounter, are revealed. The decisions display the ways in which Canadian law sustains the sovereignty of the state, but also the latent possibility to moderate it through the recognition of Indigenous territoriality.



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