Meet the Council of Experts in Indigenous Laws.

Overview Council of Experts in Indigenous Laws

Indigenous Peoples laws, legal orders, languages, customs, and cultures stem from the land from which our Nations originate. First Nation laws, legal orders, languages, customs, and cultures have been an integral part of Nationhood across Turtle Island since time immemorial.

Historic and present-day government policies and laws have often overlooked and disregarded First Nation laws, legal orders, customs, languages, and cultures. This lack of recognition has hindered meaningful Nation-to-Nation discussions and reconciliation between First Nations and the Crown in good ways.

Indigenous Laws Gathering Summary Report

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring the just and enduring recognition of First Nation legal orders, languages, customs, and cultures in all their diversity. This commitment extends to policies, processes, and legislation that directly impact First Nations.

The AFN continues to advance mandates from First-Nations-in-Assembly to ensure that policies, processes, and legislation uphold Articles 27 and 40 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This includes ensuring the recognition of Indigenous laws in any new specific claims process co-developed by the AFN and the Government of Canada.

UN Declaration Articles

Article 27:

States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with Indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 40:

Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.

Meet our Council of Experts Council of Experts in Indigenous Laws

Indigenous Laws Browse our past events and upcoming events on Indigenous Laws:


June 13, 2023 – Indigenous Laws Gathering, in unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Territory [Vancouver, British Columbia]

The inaugural gathering, co-hosted by the Assembly of First Nations Council of Experts in Indigenous Laws and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, brought together First Nation leaders, young people, legal experts, and federal officials to embark on a discussion of the recognition of Indigenous Laws. The one-day event focused on grounding Indigenous laws within local ceremony, traditions, and protocols.

The AFN and the Council of Experts in Indigenous Laws recognize the importance of further gatherings on Indigenous Laws and are committed to further gatherings in the future. Stay tuned to this page for updates.

AFN Mandates

Explore our mandates from First-Nations-in-Assembly calling for the just recognition and integration of Indigenous Laws and Legal Orders:


Several organizations across Turtle Island are passionately engaged in similar work. Explore some of their projects below:

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) work on Indigenous laws can be explored here:

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