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27 Const. F. 1 (2018)

handle is hein.journals/consfo27 and id is 1 raw text is: 


A story describing a young girl learning the tra-
dition of beading from her grandmother ended
the first day of the Reconciliation: Wahkohtowin
conference held in Edmonton,  Alberta on Sep-
tember 22 and 23, 2017. This was one of several
Wahkohtowin   'teaching and learning practice'
moments   woven   throughout  the  conference,
designed to immerse participants in the concept.
It juxtaposed a prior heartfelt plea by one of the
elders in attendance for the imminent need for
change in how Indigenous peoples are treated in
Canada. These two very different stories, echoed
by many  elders who spoke, and seen in perfor-
mances by Indigenous hoop dancers and an Inuit
throat singer, added complexity to the thought-
ful presentations given by academics from across
the country. The totality created a unique expe-
rience which was transforming for some and  at
various points enlightening or frustrating for

    The conference theme  of Wahkohtowin   -
a Cree word  that is foundational to Indigenous
law -  examined the possibilities and hurdles of
a constitutional future built on mutual respect
for Indigenous  and non-Indigenous  law. Pos-
sibilities for interpretation of existing constitu-
tional provisions and formulation  of modern
treaties that would create new ways of thinking
about Indigenous law and  legal systems; giving
interpretive equality to the views of legality and
constitutionalism within Indigenous communi-
ties; the legitimacy of the Crown's sovereignty
given its lack of reconciliation with pre-existing
Indigenous  sovereignties and its perpetuation
of Indigenous peoples inequality through tools
like the Indian Act; and examples of Indigenous
law in action were some of the themes emerging
from the many rich presentations given.

    The three papers in this issue capture these
main themes. Colleen Sheppard's piece describes

the experience  of Jordan  River Anderson,  a
young  Cree child who spent his entire life in a
hospital as a result of a jurisdictional dispute over
provision of homecare services. Professor Shep-
perd provides a purposive interpretation of Jor-
dan's Principle that not only is capable of resolv-
ing jurisdictional conflicts but also embraces the
substantive equality considerations necessary to
ensure equitable funding for Indigenous peoples.
Matt Wildcat follows with an intriguing illustra-
tion of how the Wahkohtowin  principle affected
the amalgamation process of the Maskwacis Edu-
cation Schools Commission. His work illustrates
how  emphasis on the principle of Wahkohtowin
allows Indigenous peoples  to counter colonial
dynamics  that impede Indigenous cooperation.
Ryan  Beaton closes the issue with an overview
of the Supreme  Court's jurisprudence rejecting
substantive justifications of Crown sovereignty,
instead favouring forward-looking  procedural
legitimation of de facto claims of Crown sover-

We  hope you enjoy the issue!

Patricia Paradis and Colton Fehr*

*  Patricia Paradis is Executive Director of the
   Centre for Constitutional Studies and Editor of the
   Constitutional Forum.
   Colton Fehr holds an LLM from the University
   of Toronto and is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty
   of Law, University of Alberta. He was Assistant
   Editor on this issue of the Constitutional Forum.

Constitutional Forum constitutionnel


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