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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Indigenous Law Journal >
Volume 8, Issue 1 (2010) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24668

Title: Fact, Narrative, and the Judicial Uses of History: Delgamuukw and Beyond
Authors: Reiter, Eric H.
Keywords: Indigenous Law Journal
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2010
Publisher: Indigenous Law Journal
Abstract: This article examines how judges' use of history serves to construct and reinforce particular views of the past, of the legal order, and of the relationship between the two. Through an analysis of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia and more recent Aboriginal title and rights cases, it traces the process through which judges select facts and turn them into narratives, and then authorize those narratives into new "facts" through the act of judgment. This process of narrative construction is inherently political, and rests on culturally specific assumptions about the nature of time and historical significance. By forcing litigants - particularly Aboriginal litigants - to fit their claims and their history into the predominant narrative, history as wielded by judges represents a powerful force for the creation and preservation of orthodoxy that severely limits the possibilities for dialogue and pluralism in law.
Description: Eric H. Reiter is Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Concordia University, Montreal, where he teaches law and society and legal history. He is also a member of the Quebec Bar. His recent articles have appeared in the Canadian Bar Review, the Journal of Civil Law Studies, and the Law and History Review. The author would like to thank Desmond Manderson, Shannon McSheffrey, Gavin Taylor, and the editors and anonymous reviewers of the Indigenous Law Journal for comments and suggestions that strengthened this article. An earlier version was presented at the Second Biennial Conference of the Canadian Initiative in Law, Culture and the Humanities at Carleton University, and the author thanks the participants for their questions and comments.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24668
ISSN: 1703-4566
Rights: Indigenous Law Journal
Appears in Collections:Volume 8, Issue 1 (2010)

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