What are Aboriginal Rights?

Aboriginal rights protect the existing activities and traditions of all Indigenous peoples in Canada. Aboriginal rights include the right to use land to hunt, fish, trap, gather and other important social and ceremonial practices.

Commercial activities may also be an Indigenous right if the commercial activity was important to the Indigenous society before European contact.

Before the Constitution Act 1982 Aboriginal rights existed as part of common law and the government could and did extinguish Indigenous rights at will. Aboriginal rights can no longer be taken away.

Aboriginal rights are not absolute; they can be infringed. However, Aboriginal peoples must be consulted about land use decisions that affect their Aboriginal rights.

Aboriginal rights extend to First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

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