In Canada, indigenous peoples and official-language minorities benefit from certain rights that are not available to the rest of the population, but exactly who can claim membership in these groups remains a controversial issue. Protecting a group's culture and resources is often seen to be at odds with the freedom of individuals to claim membership in that group. In "Identity Captured by Law", Sebastien Grammond explains how minority rights make identity legally relevant, providing a detailed account of struggles that have been fought concerning Indian status and admission to minority-language schools. Setting his analysis of the law in the wider interdisciplinary context of anthropology and political theory, Grammond assesses whether a group's membership rules are an accurate reflection of their ethnicity and are based on sound justifications of minority rights. He argues that membership rules do not violate equality rights if there is sufficient correspondence between the legal criteria that determine membership and the group's own cultural or relational conceptions of their ethnic identity.
Comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and original in its comparison of indigenous peoples and linguistic minorities, "Identity Captured by Law" is an invaluable resource for legal and political scholars and students, as well as anyone interested in the controversies surrounding the legal recognition of identity.
Sebastien Grammond is professor of law, University of Ottawa, and the author of Amenager la coexistence: les peuples autochtones et le droit canadien, an award-winning treatise on Native law."