Métis Justice and Legal Traditions

A place to locate summaries and resources on Métis Legal and Justice traditions. Métis laws and guiding principles, approaches to sentencing or restoring justice/addressing harm, legal protocols, and the development of Métis governing structures/legal codes. 

Note: There are multiple ways to spell Métis/Metis, some authors use the accent aigu (é), and some do not. You will encounter both spellings on the database, and from different authors/publications, both are correct. 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained within these entries is meant to provide general information, contextual summaries which may help to inform aspects of a Gladue Submission such as the healing plan and concepts of justice within different Indigenous Legal Traditions. These summaries are meant to demonstrate different Indigenous legal and justice traditions, and speak to broad concepts found within these legal systems. The database does not claim that these summaries are applicable to every Indigenous community or person, nor should they be viewed as definitive statements on Indigenous Laws and Legal traditions which are responsive, proactive, and change over time. Rather, they outline broad concepts that speak to worldviews and values demonstrated through Indigenous law and legal systems. Every Nation and Community will have their own legal traditions, protocols, and laws that are unique to them. These summaries help to enable database users to identify underlying values, key background information, and provide case-examples as to how one nation, or perhaps many, practiced and/or continues to practice their legal traditions. These contextual pieces have the potential to inform what types of sanctions and responses might be culturally responsive/relevant for a particular offender; however, it is important to draft healing plans in consultation with communities and Elders, representatives from the Criminal Justice System, prosocial networks (family, friends, organizations, etc.), and the client to identify appropriate sanctions.

Métis Legal Traditions and Reconciliation 

  • Métis legal traditions and laws which demonstrate restorative and reconciliatory principles. Excerpt from the TRC Final Report: Vol. 6 - Reconciliation, and knowledge shared by Métis Elder, Anne Carrière Acco, Cumberland House, SK.


Métis Justice and Guiding Principles

  • Métis Justice Principles are dynamic, responsive, democratic, and an example of Legal Pluralism. Métis Justice Principles and Laws have their origins from the days of the Buffalo Hunt (Buffalo Hunt Laws) and have continued in various forms, constitutions, and governing structures into the 21st century. 

Métis Laws

  • Métis Laws and Legal structures that pre-date Canadian Common Law, democratic justice principles are the core of Métis law: The Buffalo Hunt Laws, and the "communal justice" system of St. Kilda as examples.  


The Principles of Métis Governance: Asserting the Right to Remain ka tipaymishooyahk (“We who own ourselves”)

  • A short journal article that discusses the underlying principles of Métis Self-Governance, the authors outline 5 tenets: Ki tipemishoonaan (“We Are Free”), Miyeu Waahkootoowin (“Being Related in a Good Way”), Ka Niikaaniichik (“Those Who Lead Us”), The Rule of Law in Lii Lway di Michif (“Métis Laws”), and Aen Ishi Wiichayaamitooyahk (“How We Live Together”)