One of the avenues that the Supreme Court has expanded in its consideration of Aboriginal issues has been the definition of a treaty. In the Simon case, the court affirmed the validity of a 1752 treaty of peace and friendship signed between the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia and the Crown. In doing so, the court overturned the decision of a lower court and explicitly recognized all such treaties, whether or not they were of pre-Confederation vintage. Treaties concluded with the French as well as the English were also acknowledged. The decision also asserted that treaty rights were to be interpreted as the Natives at the time would have understood them, with the benefit of the doubt extending to the Natives in circumstances where this was unclear. Expanding on the idea of Aboriginal rights advanced in the Guerin decision, the Court warned against comparing Indian treaties to international agreements of the same name, emphasizing that the sui generis character of  Indian treaties set them outside the rules that governed international treaties. In its decision in the Simon case, the Supreme Court included a rebuke of the Nova Scotia lower court for the intemperate language it had used in rejecting the treaty, pointing out that words like "uncivilized" were no longer acceptable.

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