Accepted paper:

State Recognition of Indigenous Customary Adoption in Canada: its Impact on Children's Normative Agency and Rights


Ghislain Otis (University of Ottawa)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will use the case of the proposed recognition by the State of indigenous customary adoption in Quebec (Canada) to illustrate the impact of recognition of indigenous normative orders on the ability of indigenous children to be “internormative” actors and on their status as specific right-holders.

Paper long abstract:

Following several years of consultation and debate, the government of Quebec has tabled a formal legislative proposal to recognize the legal validity and effect of indigenous customary law regarding adoption. The paper will explain how official recognition may somewhat paradoxically restrict the capacity of indigenous children to influence the choice of law regarding their adoption. The paper will also explore the complex implications of official recognition on the issue of determining children's rights and best interests. It will seek to demonstrate that cooperative legal pluralism based on a dialogue between western and indigenous legal traditions will be required in order to balance conflicting definitions of the role and status of children within the family.

panel G39
Makers, brokers, breakers: children and young people in legally plural worlds (IUAES Commission on Legal Pluralism)