Aboriginal people participated in different ways in the criminal process in the early years of the North-West Territories region of Canada, including, as accused persons, as Informants, and as witnesses. Their physical participation was often mediated by interpreters, both linguistic and cultural, and their signatures invariably marked “X” on their depositions. Scholarship that has examined the relationship of Aboriginal peoples to the criminal law has tended to interrogate the criminalization and moral regulation strategies implicit in the process of colonization and domination of the First Peoples. This paper will discuss less visible aspects of the legalized processes of colonization: (1) the participation of Plains Cree, Saulteaux Métis peoples, among others, whose traditional values and norms nonetheless seep through the handwritten, translated transcription and alien norms of the Canadian criminal court; and, (2) cases in which Aboriginal complainants who, notwithstanding their substantive inequality, invoked the criminal process to insist that those who wronged them also be punished in accordance with the principles of Canadian law.
Gavigan, Shelly. "'Prisoner Never Gave Me Anything for What He Done:' Aboriginal Voices in the Criminal Court." Socio-Legal Review, 3 (2007): 31.
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