Since the release of the TRC report in 2015, progress towards justice and reconciliation for indigenous peoples has been gaining momentum. But the activities and activities need to be more intense and deep.
Education is essential to reconciliation, former Judge Beverly McLachlin said in 2015: “Those who are involved in the justice system, whether they are judges, lawyers or judicial officers, we need to understand the past, the legal system and the traditional laws.” A growing number of judges are recognizing that indigenous legal education is key to change and reconciliation. Since the Justice and Reform Commission’s Final Report and 94 Calls to Action, significant progress has been made in Indigenous legal education in Canadian law schools. This momentum must be sustained.
In its final report, the TRC recognized that legal education and training is an important part of reconciliation. Calls to Action 27 and 28 ask law societies and law schools to demand that lawyers be trained in Indigenous and Aboriginal law, the history of residential schools, UNDRIP, the Crown-Person relationship Land, and streets. They should also receive skills training in cultural competence, conflict resolution, anti-racism and human rights. These calls respond to the experiences of residential school survivors. During claims adjudication, attorneys and court personnel lack the knowledge and cultural awareness related to survivors’ experiences and claims. However, these calls that advance the general idea fall under the 94 Calls to Action, especially those related to justice.
The Canadian Council of Law Deans has released two reports (2018 and 2021) showing how law schools are doing in implementing Call to Action 28. Curriculum approaches vary. Some specialties require courses in Native law and Aboriginal law; others choose. Some offer private lessons; others will enter. Some allow students to choose from a “basket” of accredited courses that reflect their specific interests. The University of Victoria Faculty of Law offers a bachelor’s degree in civil law—the civil law doctorate. The University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University offer certificates or specializations in Indigenous law.
Call to Action 28 focuses on Indigenous cultural skills training, which the University of British Columbia responded by offering a certificate program. Law schools are also implementing experiential learning opportunities, such as law camps at the University of Victoria and Osgoode Hall, internships at the University of Alberta and the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at TMU, the clinic law at the University of British Columbia, and nationally. Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Law Moot. Many of these projects were preceded by calls and reflect the hard work of citizen and non-citizen professionals.
Depending on the authority, some faculties have formed faculty committees or working groups to assist in this process. At the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, the committee is responsible for coordinating with other faculty and staff committees and overseeing the implementation of calls. As mentioned above, many law schools are developing indigenous law departments or institutes, such as the Indigenous Legal Research Center and the National Center for Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria, the Wahkotowin Law and Governance Lodge at the University of Alberta, the Indigenous Law Center at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Law and Indigenous Law Institute at the Bora Laskin School of Law at the University of Lakehead. These installations support 28 and 50 Cells.
Law schools must also focus on Indigenous faculty, staff, and student recruitment, retention and advancement. Implementing the calls requires Indigenous and Indigenous teachers, staff and students. However, the indigenous people are called and motivated themselves to do the same work in extracurricular activities, without additional pay or recognition (while the person is living). Likewise, law firms and legal groups must properly reward and promote lawyers and Indigenous workers who contribute to the advancement of telecommunications and the marketing of the firm’s services to indigenous client communities. very valid. Finally, all law enforcement agencies and the Social and Humanities Research Council of Canada must commit to funding these efforts.
Call to Action 27, presented to the Federation of Law Societies, focuses on skills-based training for legal professionals, rather than academic content. The position of the Federation is that implementation is the responsibility of its legal members; he considers it a preparatory work. Non-governmental organizations, such as the Canadian Bar Association and its provincial branches and aboriginal law sections have been active in supporting Call to Action 27. The Advocates’ Society and Aboriginal Legal Services have issued guidelines for working with Indigenous Peoples. CBA has developed an Indigenous Cultural Studies program called The Way; and its provincial branches, continue to offer professional development programs linked to Calls to Action 27 and 28. In the state, local governments and provincial governments have implemented training for workers directly on the San’yas Cultural Safety Training Program.
Since the release of the TRC report in 2015, progress towards justice and reconciliation for indigenous peoples has been gaining momentum. But the activities and activities need to be more intense and deep. As we face each other, we all need to think about the values and norms that encourage us to act and reconcile. And generations of lawyers, and judges alike, must consider the constitutional basis underlying the Supreme Court of Canada’s interpretation of s. 35 and its links with UNDRIP. These actions speak to the spirit and purpose of the TRC and its calls.
Scott Franks is an assistant professor at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. His research is in the areas of Canadian Aboriginal law, indigenous legal orders, constitutional law, legal professionalism and ethics and indigenous research methods and research methods. Follow him on Twitter @sjfranks