We Are All Treaty People

SCC: Cindy Dickson v. Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN)

  • Published - 09/02/2023
  • |
  • Posted By - OTC
  • |

Share this with others:


The Supreme Court of Canada is deciding Cindy Dickson v. Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) after hearing arguments Feb. 7. In this decision the court is being asked to determine the authority of Indigenous law-making in the context of modern Treaty and self-governance. 

The court will also have the opportunity to speak to application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the inherent right of Indigenous self-governance.   

The case comes as Cindy Dickson, a member of the VGFN, living in Whitehorse, about 800 kms south of the traditional seat of government in Old Crow, challenged the resident requirement of the First Nation’s Constitution – claiming discrimination based on residence. 

As an intervenor in the case, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, expressed the concern that allowing the claim of Miss Dickson to succeed interferes with inherent rights of self-government of Indigenous communities.  

UNDRIP, which has been adopted by the Canadian government, also emphasises the right of self-government. 

The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is watching this case with interest to see how the court insures existing Treaty rights are recognized and affirmed.  

For more information on this case and its implications read: Indigenous Jurisdiction and the Charter at the Supreme Court: Dickson v. Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation By Kate Gunn