November 2020: Michael’s chapter on the place of Indigenous laws in Canada and Aotearoa/New Zealand was selected for the book “Global Legal Pluralism”, published in October 2020 by Oxford University Press. The book is a collection of writings by leading experts in legal pluralism - the idea that different systems of law can and do co-exist within modern states. Michael’s chapter is entitled “E Pluribus Plures: Legal Pluralism and the Recognition of Indigenous Legal Orders”. In it Michael explores the options available for achieving a just reconciliation between the laws of Indigenous peoples and the laws of the state.
What sorts of mechanisms might lead to an equitable relationship between Indigenous expressions of self-determination, in accordance with their own legal traditions, and the laws of the state? This is a question that has been much in the news in Canada lately, and it will gain more prominence with current efforts in Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Pipeline blockades, disputes over Mi’kmaq fishing rights and over the control of child welfare on reserves, all these highlight the importance of recognizing Indigenous voices and law-making powers as Canada moves forward. In his chapter Michael offers ideas about how a just balance might be achieved, moving Canada firmly out of a colonial approach that has sought in the past to suppress Indigenous cultures and laws.