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Indigenous Law / Indigenous Legal Traditions

This guide looks at Indigenous legal traditions created by Indigenous legal orders.

What is Indigenous Law?

Choose a starting point for learning about Indigenous Law and Legal Traditions.

This page is divided into three starting points, choose any to begin:

  1. Recommended readings
  2. Indigenous Law Resources from ILRU
  3. Videos

Illustration by Aftab Erfan (Whole Picture Thinking) June 2016. Drawn for the "Indigenous Laws for Resource Stewardship: A Gathering of Nations" organized by TNC Canada in collaboration with Indigenous Law Research Unit UVic Faculty of Law, West Coast Environmental Law, Mandell Pinder LLP, Coastal Stewardship Network (Coastal First Nations - Great Bear Initiative) and the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance.

Methodology section credit: Dr. Val Napoleon and Dr. Hadley Friedland

Source of Law section credit: Dr. John Borrows, with adaptations by Dr. Val Napoleon

Starting Point - Recommended Readings

Starting Point - ILRU Resources

Starting point:  Indigenous Law Resources created by the Indigenous Law Research Institute (ILRU) at the UVic Faculty of Law. Below is a list of Introductory Indigenous Law Resources from their website. 

ILRU Case Notes: 

Starting Point - ILRU Indigenous Law Videos

Starting point: Videos. ILRU's Indigenous Law Video on demand page 


Please take time to view the three short education videos embedded below  to hear about about Indigenous Law from those working in this area.  For more information about these videos and links to interviews with legal scholars, explore ILRU's  ILRU's Indigenous Law Video on demand page.


  1. Indigenous Legal Traditions - UVic's Val Napoleon (2:16)
  2. Indigenous law: an introduction (6:42 min)
  3. Full Interview: John Borrows (19:32)
  4. Indigenous law, gender, and sexuality (10:23 min)
  5. Indigenous law: tough questions (9:44) min


Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.