Seb Malette poses with "Fly High Like a Raven" t-shirt

Professor Seb Malette

As an associate professor of Law and Legal Studies, Sebastien Malette has focused on unrecognized Métis and non-status Indigenous communities in the Eastern provinces of Canada. He is the co-author of three books on the subject, including his latest, entitled Bois-Brulés: The untold story of the Métis of Western Québec (UBC, 2020).

His latest project, funded by a $203,999 SSHRC Insight Grant, is titled “Métis Acadians? An investigation into the legal arguments of the Kouchibouguac families against her Majesty the Queen.” It considers how one hundred Acadian Métis families who were expropriated when Kouchibouguac Park was created are now deploying a new legal strategy. They are demanding compensation from Canada under an alleged ancestral title under the protection of Hereditary Mi’kmaq chief Stephen Augustine.

“This innovative argument allows us to move beyond accusations that the Eastern Métis would necessarily pose an existential threat to Indigenous sovereignties,” explains Malette. “Rather, by accommodating those Acadian Métis willing to adhere to and assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis Indigenous laws and institutions to ensure their recognition as championed by Chief Augustine, the Acadian Métis diaspora could very well be in a position to side-step the Canadian legal mechanism of recognition derived by section 35 altogether in favour of Indigenous legal norms. In such a radical anti-colonial scenario, the Acadian Métis would thus reinforce existing Mi’kmaq political and legal institutions rather than competing against them.”

In collaboration with anthropologists, Michel Bouchard (UNBC), Siomonn Pulla (Royal Roads University) and Denis Gagnon (University of Saint-Boniface), this project will explore the historical and ethnographic evidence associated with the Acadian Métis diaspora, as well as the legal implications associated with this novel argument articulated by the families of Kouchibouguac.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 in , ,
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