Aboriginal Rights                                                          
 


1. Aboriginal rights are collective rights which flow from Aboriginal peoples continued use and occupation of certain areas. They are inherent rights which Aboriginal peoples have practiced and enjoyed since before European contact. Aboriginal land rights are not held by a individual person, these are collective rights to land held by all members of the community.

2. Aboriginal rights include: Rights to the land (Aboriginal title), Rights to subsistence resources and activities, The right to self-determination and self-government, The right to practice one’s own culture and customs including language and religion.  Sometimes referred to as the right of "cultural integrity", The right to enter into treaties.
3.  Aboriginal rights do not exist because the courts or the Crown has recognized them. The Crown cannot bestow Aboriginal rights upon a people who enjoyed these rights prior to the Crown’s existence.
4. English and Canadian Law accepted that Indigenous people possessed pre-existing laws and interest, which were presumed to survive the assertion of Crown sovereignity and were absorbed into the common law as rights.
5. Status bestowed by aboriginal customary adoption is recognized by the courts as well as the continuity of Indigenous customary and International law.


                             Proof of Indigenous Land RIghts
     
 When Indigenous peoples seek judicial acknowledgment of thier land rights in the courts of nation-states that have asserted sovereignty over them, they have the onus of proving their rights in accordance with test and standards that are usually set by the judiciary. These test and standards vary from one jurisdiction to another, depending on the source of the title and other factors, but the burden of proof is always onerous. The difficulties Indigenous claiments face are compounded by the fact their traditions were generally oral, and courts tend to place greater weight on written documents in determining historical issues arising beyond the limits of living memory. The Supreme Court of Canada has acknowledged these difficulties, and has sought to alleviate them to some extent by directing trial judges to admit oral histories as evidence and to accord them appropriate weight, for example (Delgamuukw).
What Indigenous peoples actually have to prove to establish their land rights depends largely on the source of these rights. In Canada, where Aboriginal title is based on occupation, Aboriginal peoples have to prove that they were in exclusive occupation of the claimed land at the time of British assertion of sovereignty. The requisite occupation can be established by proof of physical presence and use of the land, and by evidence of Aboriginal law. The source of Aboriginal title appears to be grounded both in the common law and in the Aboriginal perspective on land.