Mitchell v. M.N.R.


Mitchell v. M.N.R.

Mitchell v. Minister of National Revenue, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 911 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on aboriginal rights under section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982. The court held that Mitchell's claim to an aboriginal right to import goods across the Canada-US border was invalid as he was unable to present enough evidence showing that the importation was an integral part of the band's distinctive culture.

In 1988, Grand Chief Michael Mitchell, a Mohawk of Akwesasne, attempted to bring goods from the US into Canada. At the border he declared everything that he had purchased in the US but refused to pay any duty on it, claiming that he had an aboriginal right to bring goods across the border.

At trial, the Federal Court agreed with Mitchell and held that there was an aboriginal right to import goods. The decision was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court overturned the decision, and held that Mitchell was required to pay duty for all of the goods he imported.

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