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Justice in Paradise

Justice in Paradise

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    Justice in Paradise
    Book Description:

    A jurisprudential adventure story, "Justice in Paradise" recounts how a commitment to Native rights and an extraordinary passion for the rule of law have determined the course of Clark's life. From a childhood in an Indian residential school, to the defence of aboriginal rights before the World Court, to being disbarred, Bruce Clark's struggle has led him to a fight against the justice system itself.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6814-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents


    • CHAPTER 1 Indian Places and Formative Faces
      (pp. 3-18)

      The sense of nature’s power, of its potential for cruelty or at least indifference, was thrust upon me one December night during the time I was living on Bear Island. Having resided there for over seven years, I had been forced to learn a measure of self-sufficiency while I was directly and intimately in contact with nature — just as that the old-style Indians had done.

      I had learned how to drive the motor boat at night with the horizon for my reference point. The route from Bear Island to the road-access landing on the mainland was a twisting 4-mile passage...

    • CHAPTER 2 My Introduction to Indian Law and Culture
      (pp. 19-34)

      On 11 February 1973 the Temagamis of Bear Island retained me to defend their native sovereignty. According to their oral history, their ancestors had never signed a treaty. I was forced into an active search for answers to questions of whose existence I had until then had only ill-defined suspicions.

      Local newspapers had announced that the Ontario government planned to build an $80 million ski resort on what it regarded as public land at Maple Mountain. But the Temagamis regarded themselves as the stewards of that mountain. In their language it is named Chee’Bai’Gin, which means “Where the spirits go.”...

    • CHAPTER 3 Moving Deeper into Indian Culture
      (pp. 35-47)

      The hurdle that faces Indians whenever they seek to raise the subject of their own sovereignty is the non-natives’ assumption that if there were no white courts and no white law, there would be anarchy. People are by nature ethnocentric. The suppression of the natives’ own previously established laws and courts has been in place for a long time. Added to ethnocentrism is the problem of “temporalcentrism”: the feeling of inevitability and appropriateness that intuitively attaches to the way things are.

      The facile assumption is that the newcomers’ laws and courts were drawn into a jurisdictional vacuum. Underlying this questionable...

    • CHAPTER 4 My Capture by Indian Law and Culture
      (pp. 48-62)

      For me, these general perceptions concerning the law took place in the years 1978 through 1985 during a period of residence on Bear Island. This living experience contributed as much as my voluminous reading did to the evolution of the theory of law and jurisprudence for which I had been searching.

      At the time of the closing down of the law practice in Haileybury and the move to Bear Island, my son David was two. Our daughter, Zoë, was born two weeks after the move, and our son Beau fifteen months later. At first there was not a vacancy for...


    • CHAPTER 5 The Bear Island Trial
      (pp. 65-81)

      I will not be naming names in my story because we are all stock characters and I do not want to create an illusion that, if different individuals had played the roles, things might have been different.

      By 1980, after seven years of listening to the native elders and researching the available anthropological, historical, and legal literature bearing on native society, I felt I was in a position to make an inventory of Canada’s scholars in the several academic fields that were relevant to the Bear Island Indians’ case. That summer I telephoned the pre-eminent academic experts and invited them...

    • CHAPTER 6 Getting Fired and Going Back to School
      (pp. 82-94)

      Shortly after the trial the Temagamis fired me in favour of retaining a large law firm that had greater experience with appeal work. The major consequence was the issue of native sovereignty was dropped as a feature of the case. Much like the other defence lawyer at the trial of the Moosonee Indian in Cochrane, the new lawyers felt that arguing native sovereignty was a non-starter in the court system. They took the position that I was leading the Indians down the garden path by filling their heads with my own idealistic preconceptions about the rule of law. On this...

    • CHAPTER 7 Crises at Oka and the Lil’Wat Country
      (pp. 95-113)

      Oka, Quebec, is situated at the confluence of the Ottawa, St Lawrence, and Richelieu rivers. The municipality wanted to allow the expansion of a golf course into land bordering on the town. Indians claimed the same land under aboriginal title. The reaction of some of the Indians to the town’s declaration of intent was to proclaim the area a sacred burial ground. They established barricades and trenches, and occupied a small medical counselling and first-aid building set among the pines. And they brandished guns. In sympathy, other Indians blockaded a bridge over the St Lawrence River, interrupting the access of...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Western Shoshone in Nevada
      (pp. 114-120)

      During this same time period I was contacted by some indigenous people in Nevada, the land of the Western Shoshone. An unusual treaty exists relative to this people and their land. It was made in the mid-nineteenth century, just before the United States government decided in 1871 that it would no longer enter into any new Indian treaties. Unlike most treaties, the Western Shoshonees’ does not read like the normal contract recording an outright sale of the land. Instead, it reads like the grant by the Indians of an undisturbed right of passage over their lands: a corridor over a...


    • CHAPTER 9 Our First Trip to Europe
      (pp. 123-132)

      The law being stonewalled in North America, I decided to explore international legal remedies in Europe, where the present European blight upon North America originated five centuries earlier. Together with two Lil’Wat natives, Tsemhu’qw and Lahalus (Harold and Loretta Pascal), we departed for Europe. Our group of seven persons, plus my family’s Belgian sheepdog, Rowdy, arrived in Paris shortly after midnight. Our baggage load was staggering - not with clothes, but with files and my full-size computer, monitor, and printer, and camping food we had acquired cheaply so as not to starve should support fail to emerge in Europe. We...

    • CHAPTER 10 Our Trip to Bulgaria
      (pp. 133-143)

      One native client in British Columbia wanted to cut and market timber: he firmly maintained that this was one of his aboriginal rights. I informed him that he had the right, but the government and the court had the power. There was nothing I could do to protect that right other than continue to press in as many court forums as possible for a hearing into the law which, so far, had wilfully been blindsided by the Canadian courts as well as by the International Court of Justice and the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations.

      My client was...

    • CHAPTER 11 Petitions to the Queen and Meetings in Central America
      (pp. 144-152)

      We returned to Canada from Bulgaria in the spring of 1994. In addition to dealing in the domestic courts with the renewed Temagami endeavour, during this period I consolidated all my clients’ outstanding cases from the various regions of Canada in one combined application to the Supreme Court of Canada. While that application was proceeding apace, I planned and carried out a third excursion to Europe.

      Up to this point, my clients had been asking the domestic courts to address the legislative words which established that, as natives occupying arguably unceded land, they have a constitutionally guaranteed right of access...


    • CHAPTER 12 The Bear Island Incident and My First Criminal Conviction
      (pp. 155-160)

      After I left Bear Island in 1985, the researcher with whom I had been working continued in the Temagamis’ employment. Soon after, he discovered a letter in the archives which raised the possibility of arguing that some of the elected chiefs of the Temagamis, including the current chief, had been engaged in the concealment from the courts of evidence that, if disclosed, would justify a reconsideration by the Supreme Court of Canada of its decision that the Temagamis’ aboriginal rights had been extinguished.

      The new evidence consisted of a nineteenth-century letter written to one of the Indian agents from the...

    • CHAPTER 13 The Gustafsen Lake Story
      (pp. 161-172)

      The last hope for the rule of law in any society is the ordinary citizen. When all else fails, it is always open for the citizen who observes a crime in progress to effect a citizen’s arrest. For this purpose, subsequent to my release from the Ontario prison, I went to British Columbia to attend at the opening of the hearing ofDelgamuukw v. British Columbiain the British Columbia Court of Appeal. I stood at the outset and advised the assembled panel of five judges that they had been suborned by the parties before them into assuming a jurisdiction...

    • CHAPTER 14 Europe Again and More Petitions
      (pp. 173-179)

      My fourth trip to Europe, in 1995, was partly as a result of events at Gustafsen Lake and partly to follow the instructions of my Central American clients. My clients wanted me to build on the petition we had sent to the national courts of Europe. Specifically, they instructed me to commence actions seeking injunctions in Europe to compel European companies not to act as receivers of stolen goods by trading in natural resource products taken from yet unpurchased Indian land. That trade arguably aids and abets the genocide of the wilderness people. Genocide is the natural and probable consequence...

    • CHAPTER 15 The Mi’gmaq, the Supreme Court, and Other Matters
      (pp. 180-192)

      On our return from our aborted trip to Europe in December 1995, we wintered in New York State and then went on to Quebec. I had been contacted jointly by an elected chief and a hereditary chief who, on behalf of the Mi’gmaq Nation, were cooperating with each other in an attempt to defend the issue of native sovereignty and jurisdiction. This group of Mi’gmaq occupies as a reserve a modest acreage on the north shore of the Restigouche River, which constitutes the border between Quebec and New Brunswick. Its original and still unceded ancestral homeland is the entire drainage...


    • CHAPTER 16 Mohegans of New York and Vermont
      (pp. 195-209)

      Meanwhile, Margaret and I had been summoned from across the border by the Passamaquoddies of Maine and the Mohegans (or Mohicans) of the Hudson River drainage basin of New York and Vermont.

      It has been the nature of previous empires to rise and then fall. Native mystics are not convinced that this cyclical pattern of the past necessarily ensures that the future will also be that way. They warn that the capacity of nature to regenerate is approaching a point of exhaustion beyond which, if pushed farther, it will not be able to recover. They caution that unless the American...

    • CHAPTER I7 Law Society of Upper Canada v. Bruce Clark
      (pp. 210-225)

      My two citizen’s arrest endeavours, one with the Ontario police officer and the other with the British Columbia Court of Appeal panel hearing theDelgamuukwcase, eventually became the basis of a decision by the Law Society of Upper Canada that I be reprimanded for a disciplinary offence. Before deciding on a reprimand for these so-called offences, the Law Society threw out some twenty-five other complaints by judges that I had insulted them by alleging their assumption of jurisdiction to be treasonable, fraudulent, and complicitous in genocide.

      On 19 June 1996 the Law Society in the case ofLaw Society...

    • CHAPTER 18 Epitaph fora Dead Lawyer Walking
      (pp. 226-252)

      On Easter Sunday morning, 4 April 1999, Margaret and I went to a local coffee shop in Ottawa where the cappuccinos are 99 cents each and the newspapers are free to read. As I looked over theOttawa Citizen, I suddenly stopped at a large Reuters picture of me under the caption: “Rogue lawyer runs out of arguments: Bruce Clark’s Canadian courtroom career was effectively killed 10 days ago when he was disbarred in Ontario.” Stunned, I read on:

      Bruce Clark, the renegade lawyer who spent two decades cultivating militant native clients across Canada with arguments dating back to the...

    (pp. 253-256)

    For humankind to progress, North American society must rehabilitate the rule of law domestically. The first stage in any such rehabilitation is to address the international and constitutional law, as it is written, without restricting the focus to the federal, state, and provincial law that conflicts with and is overridden by the international and constitutional law. Until the judiciary addresses the higher law, there is no prospect that the law can rule.

    If and when the rule of law is rehabilitated, North American society can and should debate the appropriateness of the international and constitutional law, as it presently is...