INDIGENOUS INITIATIVES: A GUIDE
TABLE OF CONTENTS Welcome from Dean Paul Paton
Student Supports ... 5
Message from the Indigenous Law Students’ Association ... 6 Student Profiles
Spotlight: The Wahkohtowin Project
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. . . 11
Indigenous Law and Legal Issues in the Curriculum . . . 12 . . . 18
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Awards & Financial Aid Alumni Profiles Links
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The University of Alberta acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community. Notes to the reader: 1 Throughout the brochure, wherever possible we use the words ‘Indigenous’ and ‘Indigenous peoples’. When referring to a specific course (e.g., Aboriginal Law), an admissions category (e.g., the Aboriginal category), or an event name (e.g., the University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Student Discovery Day), we use the word in current use by the organization. When referring to Aboriginal rights as enshrined in Canadian law (the word has a specific legal meaning), we use the word ‘Aboriginal’ to reflect the language of the law. 2 Aboriginal Law refers to state law as applied to Indigenous peoples, and Indigenous Law refers to Indigenous peoples’ own laws.
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WELCOME FROM DEAN PAUL PATON Welcome to UAlberta Law – a community of faculty, students, and alumni continuing a more than 100-year tradition of learning the law and engaging in public service locally, nationally, and internationally. This brochure is intended to provide an overview of Indigenous initiatives at UAlberta Law, including information for current and prospective Indigenous students. It is also intended to help communicate aspects of our response to the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), which included 94 calls to action, including two of particular relevance to the Canadian legal profession and Canadian law schools. Our efforts are framed within the University of Alberta’s new strategic plan, For the Public Good, which identifies as a priority the development “in consultation and collaboration with internal and external community stakeholders, [of] a thoughtful, respectful, meaningful, and sustainable response to the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.”
As part of our response to the TRC, we are taking steps to more fully integrate Aboriginal law and Indigenous legal theory and traditions into our curriculum. We have also launched new initiatives to ensure that all UAlberta Law students enter the legal profession with greater understanding of the application of the law to Indigenous peoples, and have the skills to interact with respect and sensitivity to people from a variety of Indigenous cultures. Whether serving Indigenous clients and communities, or advising clients in energy, business, family law or criminal law settings whose dealings bring them into intersection with Indigenous peoples or issues, we seek to provide our students opportunities to be prepared – as the next generation of Canadian lawyers and leaders – for these important challenges. Our work builds upon the foundation laid by two faculty members who are experts in the field of Aboriginal law – Professor Catherine Bell and Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland – and continues to grow in ways you’ll read more about here. We are also committed to increasing awareness of the opportunities for Indigenous students to become UAlberta Law students, and to supporting our current Indigenous students as they prepare for successful legal careers in the tradition of distinguished UAlberta Law graduates Chief Wilton Littlechild and Justice Leonard Mandamin, and rising stars Koren Lightning-Earle and Harold Robinson. You’ll read about their inspiring stories here, and know that you can create your own. There is much to be done as we continue the collaborative, ongoing process of more fully integrating Aboriginal law, Indigenous legal theory, and legal issues pertaining to Canada’s Indigenous peoples into the fabric of UAlberta Law. We invite you to join us on this important journey. PAUL D. PATON, JSD Dean of Law and Wilbur Fee Bowker Professor of Law
Personal & Cultural Support
UAlberta Law is committed to supporting our Indigenous students as they prepare for successful legal careers through a program of academic, personal, and cultural supports. Please see below for an overview of available resources.
Our Student Life Coordinator is the main point of contact for students experiencing academic or personal difficulties. She is available to talk with students when a friendly ear is needed and direct as necessary to the appropriate resources.
In 2015, we hired a Student Life Coordinator who devotes a significant amount of her time to providing support for Indigenous students. She works directly with the Indigenous Law Students’ Association to plan activities such as career mixers and visits to sweat lodges, and ensures that students have access to the necessary resources – within UAlberta Law or the wider University community – to be successful in their academic endeavours.
Phone check-ins: Our Student Life Coordinator phones Indigenous students throughout the year to inquire if support is needed. Upperyear Indigenous students also call first-year Indigenous students to invite them to events.
Mentorship program: New in 2016/17, interested Indigenous students were paired with Indigenous alumni.
The Aboriginal Student Services Centre hosts events throughout the year such as the UAlberta Round Dance and community meals. A smudge / meditation room and traditional knowledge keepers are also made available.
Proposed initiatives at UAlberta Law include visits to sweat lodges, cultural camps, workshops on smudging practices, and Elder visits.
Academic Support •
The University’s Aboriginal Student Services Centre offers a variety of programs and services, as well as information on scholarships and funding for Indigenous students.
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ILSA representatives present Beverley Jacobs with the Aboriginal Justice Award during the 2016 Indigenous Law Speaker Series.
Jenna Broomfield and Dean Paton at the Celebrate! Teaching and Learning Award Ceremony in September 2016. Jenna performed traditional Inuit throat singing at the ceremony.
STUDENT LIFE Thanks to the generous support of ATCO and the ATCO Endowment in Aboriginal Law, as well as other endowments and donations, UAlberta Law is able to support the Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA) with its program of activities. In recent years, this funding has supported the annual Indigenous Law Speaker Series and provided travel funds for students to attend the annual Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot and the Indigenous Bar Association annual conference.
Indigenous Law Speaker Series The Indigenous Law Speaker Series is an important annual event for our law school community that provides an opportunity to learn about Indigenous issues through a legal lens. The series – supported by a grant from the Alberta Law Foundation – is organized by ILSA and open to the law school, university, and broader community. In 2016, five guest speakers – four of whom were UAlberta Law alumni – spoke on various aspects of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. In 2017, four guest speakers spoke on various aspects of the duty to consult Indigenous peoples and communities on environmental issues.
Indigenous Bar Association Conference “Attending the Indigenous Bar Association conference was an important and special opportunity for me because it gave me a chance to connect with the Indigenous legal community and introduced me to the countless avenues available when practicing law as an Aboriginal person. The work done by these advocates is very challenging, yet extremely important in shaping Canada’s future with Aboriginal peoples and in working towards change and reconciliation.” –K ATELYNN CAVE, JD Candidate 2019, 1L Representative, ILSA
MESSAGE FROM THE INDIGENOUS LAW STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION Our keynote event is the annual Indigenous Law Speaker Series, held in early March for one week. A different theme is chosen by the group each year and focuses on Indigenous legal issues. Each day, a different guest speaker – we invite academics, lawyers, and judges – addresses a topic from their area of expertise. The event is generally held over the noon hour and lunch is served. We have an excellent turnout each year and continue to broaden our audience to include students and professors from other faculties within the University of Alberta and other interested members of the public. ILSA’s mandate is also to be a support to self-identified Indigenous students and those who have a strong interest in Indigenous legal and justice issues. ILSA is a strong political force within UAlberta Law and has done important work such as:
The Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA) is a student group comprised of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. We are a strong group within UAlberta Law and hold monthly general meetings.
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Advocate for increased Indigenous content in the law school curriculum
Host a Gladue discussion forum involving lawyers, judges, Student Legal Services and non-profits
Host an Indigenous-specific career day
We also make a point of having fun and have a social committee tasked with that objective. Yearly bake sales, group dinners, board game nights, and attending the annual University of Alberta round dance as a group are but a few examples. We also make a point of feeding hungry students at our monthly meetings with the requisite pizza! JESSICA CARTWRIGHT Co-President Indigenous Law Students’ Association (2016-17)
STUDENT PROFILES Our Indigenous students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Here are two of their stories.
After Jenna Broomfield graduated with a BA in Native Studies and a certificate in Aboriginal Governance and Partnership in 2014, her desire to contribute to Indigenous communities – and to her Inuit community specifically – led her to UAlberta Law.
After earning her BA in criminology at the University of Alberta, Katelynn Cave took a break from academia to gain experience in the criminal justice field. Through the Elizabeth Fry Society, she worked at the Edmonton Remand Centre, Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre as a prison liaison, and she also worked as a judicial clerk with Alberta Justice and the Solicitor General at the Edmonton Law Courts.
JD candidate (2017)
Currently the Vice-President (External) of the Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA), Jenna is responsible for connecting with organizations outside the University of Alberta to send and receive information related to Indigenous peoples, law, and events. She has also worked as a student researcher / writer with the Faculty of Native Studies. Outside of academia, Jenna throat sings solo and in a duo called “Sila Singers,” and has appeared at several prominent events, including the 2014 Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Edmonton. Jenna says that she receives much of her support from peers met at law school and at events all over Canada, such as the Indigenous Bar Association’s national conference, which she has attended every year since she started at UAlberta Law. She advises incoming Indigenous students to stay connected to community – whether it exists on campus or off. After graduation, Jenna hopes to find an area and role in law where she can use Indigenous legal traditions to serve Indigenous people and communities.
JD candidate (2019)
While Katelynn enjoyed the chance to work with the incarcerated – including Indigenous women – the experience ultimately taught her that she wanted a career that would allow her to advocate for her beliefs. To satisfy this, she applied to the Faculty of Arts for admission to a Master’s program in sociology (criminal justice), and to UAlberta Law. After speaking with lawyers and judges, Katelynn – who is Métis – decided that law school would provide her with the hands-on role she was looking for. She hasn’t looked back. Currently involved in the Indigenous alumni mentorship program, Katelynn is also a firstyear student representative with the Indigenous Law Students’ Association. In September 2016, she attended the Indigenous Bar Association annual conference in Vancouver, an opportunity made possible through the ATCO Endowment in Aboriginal Law. Katelynn is also a recipient of the ATCO Aboriginal Law Bursary. Upon graduation, she hopes to become a criminal defense lawyer with a primary focus on advocating for Indigenous clients. INDIGENOUS INITIATIVES
SPOTLIGHT The Wahkohtowin Project The Wahkohtowin Project: Pedagogy and Practice through Community and Academic Indigenous-Based Learning Collaborations is a for-credit, on-the-land, and in-class course, expected to launch in June 2017 and accommodate up to 12 students. Funding for the course is provided by the Office of the Provost and the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Indigenous Community Engagement, Research and Learning (CERL) fund. The course – which invites students to explore the Cree concept of Wahkohtowin, which translates approximately as our inter-relatedness and interdependence – is open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. The concept of Wahkohtowin has been a central tenet of Cree law, governance, philosophy, and spirituality for centuries. More recently, scholars have started to engage with the concept from an academic perspective, unpacking its historical and evolving meanings and applications in Cree law and governance structures.
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The course was created by UAlberta Law Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland and Faculty of Native Studies Associate Professor and Aboriginal Governance Director Shalene Jobin, with insight and research support from graduate students and members of the Aseniwuche Winewak community. It will take place in Aseniwuche Winewak traditional territory near the town of Grande Cache, Alberta. Community members of the Wahkohtowin project team are fluent Cree speakers and experts on traditional practices that require specialized skills and have been passed down from generation to generation. While UAlberta professors will teach some elements of the course, Elders and other experts from the community will play a central role in both planning and teaching other elements of the course. Students who are selected to participate in the course will learn ways to respectfully and productively engage with Cree legal traditions and governance principles like Wahkohtowin. Students will learn through a number of
activities, including lectures, storytelling, nature walks, raising a teepee – and the course’s central activity: the traditional braintanning of a moose hide. “The addition of Dr. Friedland’s course on Indigenous laws, the January 2017 launch of a new ‘Gladue’ experiential learning opportunity that will be the first of its kind in Canada, and the inclusion of introduction to Indigenous legal traditions for all first-year students as part of the Foundations of Law course are just three ways that UAlberta Law is responding to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and Canadian law schools ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, including in the history and legacy of residential schools, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights,” said Dean Paul Paton.
“We have much yet to do, but are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that our law students enter the legal profession with knowledge of Indigenous laws and legal traditions, a firm understanding of the application of Canadian law to Indigenous peoples, and the skills to interact with respect and understanding with people from a variety of Indigenous societies. Including an examination of these issues in our curriculum is incredibly important – not just for students’ legal competency, but also because of our shared responsibility as officers of the court and our role as leaders in Canadian society.”
FACULTY PROFILES Professor Catherine Bell Catherine Bell specializes in Indigenous rights, access to justice, cultural heritage law, collaborative research and ethics. She teaches Canadian Aboriginal rights law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Property Law and developed and oversees UAlberta Law’s Low Income Clinical Law Program and the Aboriginal Justice Externship on Gladue Sentencing Principles. She has been a visitor at national and international universities and helped develop and deliver Indigenous legal education programs across Canada, including the Program of Legal Studies for Native People (University of Saskatchewan), the Akitsiraq Law Program (Nunavut), and the Banff Centre for Management’s Aboriginal Leadership and Self-Government Program. Professor Bell is published widely and has worked in collaboration with and as an advisor to Indigenous, provincial, national, and international government bodies and organizations. Her work on cultural heritage law and policy tackles many critical issues in contemporary national and international cultural heritage and is used widely in interdisciplinary academic and applied contexts. Her work on Métis constitutional rights and the Metis settlements has influenced Métis law and policy in Canada. In 2012, Professor Bell was awarded the Canadian Bar Association’s Ramon John Hnatyshyn Governor General’s Gold Medal recognizing her outstanding contributions to law and legal education in Canada. She is also the co-recipient of a prestigious MCRI on Indigenous Rights and Intangible Cultural Heritage and a SSHRC Insight Grant exploring Métis constitutional rights and treaties. 10
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Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland
Hadley Friedland joined UAlberta Law as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2016. Her research focuses on Indigenous laws, legal methodologies and pedagogies, Aboriginal law, criminal justice, family and child welfare law, dispute resolution, and therapeutic jurisprudence. She has published numerous articles and collaborated to produce accessible Indigenous legal resources for Indigenous communities, legal professionals, and the general public. She also provides experiential community-based training and continuing legal education in this area. Dr. Friedland was Research Director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit [ILRU] at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law from 2012 to 2016 and is co-creator, with Dr. Val Napoleon, of the ILRU methodology. She has worked extensively with Indigenous communities across Canada. Her research has won several awards, including the prestigious Vanier Scholarship and the inaugural SSHRC Impact Talent Award. Her LLM thesis, The Wetiko (Windigo) Legal Principles is widely used in law schools across North America. Her PhD dissertation, Reclaiming the Language of Law: The Contemporary Articulation and Application of Cree Legal Principles in Canada, was awarded the Governor General Gold Medal. Dr. Friedland holds a Child and Youth Care diploma (with distinction) from MacEwan University, an LLB from the University of Victoria, and an LLM and PhD from the University of Alberta. She was called to the Alberta Bar in 2010.
JD CURRICULUM All first-year JD students at UAlberta Law take the same seven core courses designed to provide a solid foundation of knowledge of the law.
During upper years, optional courses allow students to tailor their studies by exploring areas of interest.
First Year Compulsory Courses:
Optional courses fall under the following categories:
Constitutional Law Contracts
Aboriginal Law The Administrative Process / Public Law
Advanced Private Law
Foundations of Law
Corporate / Commercial Law
Legal Research and Writing
The Family Health Law / Law & Medicine
Upper Year Compulsory Courses: Administrative Law Civil Procedure Corporations Law Evidence Professional Responsibility Jurisprudence or Legal History
Human Rights Intellectual Property International Law Labour & Employment Land Law Legal Theory Litigation & Lawyering Skills Moots Natural Resources / Environmental Law Taxation
INDIGENOUS LAW AND LEGAL ISSUES IN THE CURRICULUM Indigenous law and legal issues are incorporated into the JD curriculum at UAlberta Law in a number of ways. Law students can also pursue research on various Indigenous issues under the supervision of a full-time faculty member.
FIRST YEAR COMPULSORY COURSES: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW “Indigenous law, rights, and legal issues are foundations of my courses in both Constitutional Law and Advanced Constitutional Law. Indigenous law and constitutionalism were already here when newcomers arrived to what is now Canada. In exploring how our legal systems have interacted over time in treaty relationships, the Honour of the Crown, and Indigenous rights, we appreciate the promise of constitutional law to recognize the diversity that exists at the heart of the Canadian legal order. Understanding Indigenous law and its increasing role in cases of Aboriginal rights, title, and treaty will be critical skills for Canadian lawyers for the foreseeable future.” – Associate Professor ERIC ADAMS
FOUNDATIONS OF LAW Vice Dean Moin Yahya First-year students take the Foundations course during the first two weeks of law school as an introduction to the law and the basic legal concepts they will need to know to be successful in law school. Beginning in 2016-17, Foundations was expanded to include an examination of Indigenous legal traditions in Canada and classroom discussions around issues raised in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada final report. Examining these issues is incredibly important – not just for students’ legal competency, but also because of our shared responsibility as officers of the court and our role as leaders in Canadian society. To reinforce the classroom curriculum, first-
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year students also participated in a law-focused KAIROS blanket exercise – a first for UAlberta Law – an interactive exercise designed to walk participants through hundreds of years of Indigenous and Canadian history in less than three hours. The purpose of including the blanket exercise in the Foundations curriculum was to highlight the effects of law, legislation, and policy on the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland was instrumental in including the blanket exercise in the Foundations curriculum and adapting it to include Indigenous legal traditions as well as legal issues. We also received tremendous support from the Office of the Provost, the Faculty of Native Studies, and one of our Indigenous alumna to facilitate the exercise.
“The TRC calls on law schools to ensure that our students learn about Indigenous laws, Crown-Aboriginal relations, and the devastating consequences of colonialism and intergenerational injustice. Law has played a huge role in bringing us to where we are today, so the legal profession has an important role to play in reconciliation. Having an exercise that focuses on this as part of our Foundations curriculum sends a strong message to our students. For this generation of future lawyers, Indigenous laws and legal issues are not peripheral, but rather of central importance to their legal education and ethical practice.” - Assistant Professor HADLEY FRIEDLAND
“Including the blanket exercise in the Foundations course was an important aspect of our response to the call in the University of Alberta’s Institutional Strategic Plan For the Public Good to develop, in consultation and collaboration with internal and external community stakeholders, a thoughtful, respectful, meaningful, and sustainable response to the TRC report.” - Dean PAUL PATON
First-year students participate in the KAIROS blanket exercise (September 2016)
PROPERTY LAW In Property Law, first-year students learn about Aboriginal rights in lands, including the rights of Aboriginal peoples on reserves and Metis settlements. The course also examines Aboriginal concepts of ownership and sharing.
“Aboriginal concepts of ownership and sharing enrich our understanding of property law.” - Associate Professor ERAN KAPLINSKY
The games around patriation have been designed to give non-governmental organizations a voice in the deliberations, and here, one student group represents the National Indian Brotherhood (the precursor to the AFN), and students have in the past also represented Métis and Indigenous women’s organizations. All of the students in the patriation games have to address how to incorporate Aboriginal rights and treaty rights into the new constitution.
UPPER YEAR COMPULSORY COURSES
UPPER YEAR OPTIONAL COURSES
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE EXTERNSHIP ON GLADUE SENTENCING PRINCIPLES
Associate Professor James Muir In this course, students play games that simulate the conferences that led up to both the British North America Act of 1867 and the patriation of the Constitution in 1982. At both events, Indigenous peoples were excluded. Students in the first half of the course have the opportunity to moot the St. Catherine’s Milling case, a decision that set out the relationship under the BNA Act between Indigenous peoples’ land rights, the federal government, and provincial governments.
Taught by Professor Catherine Bell and Nicole Stewart (Pringle, Chivers, Sparks, Teskey) Externship Coordinator: Randy Sloan (Alberta Justice & Solicitor General) FIRST OFFERED WINTER 2017 This innovative new experiential learning opportunity for students in criminal law and Aboriginal sentencing is the first course of its kind to be offered in a Canadian law school.
UAlberta Law is offering the three-credit course designed to develop competency in working with Indigenous accused and a greater understanding of legal, social, historical, and contemporary contexts for Gladue principles in sentencing – in partnership with the Government of Alberta. Support and training for the course is being provided by various stakeholders in the judicial system, including two Indigenous organizations: Yellowhead Tribal Community Corrections and Native Counselling Services of Alberta. The course starts with pre-externship training, including cultural sensitivity training, the content and role of Gladue reports, and systemic factors relevant to the sentencing, followed by seminars that explore in greater depth case law and the connections of intergenerational impact of colonial history, including the residential school system, to Gladue sentencing factors. Students also conduct 25-30 hours of externship work with Gladue report writers, including: •
accompanying the Gladue report writer when they are interviewing the accused and their collateral contacts
ABORIGINAL PEOPLES & LAW* Professor Catherine Bell This seminar is a survey course on Canadian Aboriginal rights law. Although Indigenous legal traditions are introduced and opportunities to research in this area are provided, the emphasis in this course is on Canadian law and policy as it affects First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The course often includes an option to engage in interdisciplinary national collaborative projects and applied research on contemporary issues developed in partnership with lawyers, government, First Nation, and Métis organizations. Topics covered in the course include: • • • • •
assisting writers in identifying resources that will help address the treatment or programming needs
compiling community histories and profiles
observing sentencing and court proceedings
meeting with members of the judiciary, legal counsel, and Indigenous court workers
In addition, students will learn the difference between Gladue principles and Gladue reports, how the reports are requested and provided in Alberta, the role of the Gladue report writer in gathering information and the sentencing process itself, who the report is written for, how the information is obtained, content areas in reports, and how this information is relevant to sentencing.
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Historical and theoretical foundations of Constitutional, Aboriginal, and Treaty Rights Intersection of Indigenous and Canadian legal traditions Impact of Canadian law on Aboriginal legal identity Issues of jurisdiction: federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous jurisdiction Scope and content of Aboriginal Constitutional rights and title Treaties and modern land claim agreements, including North of 60 Fiduciary law, honour of the Crown, and Crown duties flowing from honour Intersection of natural resource development and Aboriginal rights law in Alberta Unique issues applicable to Métis Constitutional rights and Alberta’s Métis settlements Indian Act and contemporary issues in self-government
*Aboriginal Law refers to state law as applied to Indigenous peoples, and Indigenous Law refers to Indigenous peoples’ own laws.
INDIGENOUS LAWS: QUESTIONS AND METHODS FOR ENGAGEMENT
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, LAW, JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION
Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland
Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland
This course (first offered in Fall 2016) explores topics such as legal theory, trauma-informed legal practice, and legal methodologies. Students examine the current challenges of learning Indigenous laws and practice legal methods to engage with these laws seriously and respectfully. The final part of the course, in preparation for an in-class moot applying Cree legal principles, looks at substantive work in Cree law. Students write factums representing a party in the case and develop a legal process for a hypothetical “Cree Legal Lodge” based on Cree procedural principles. Developing a fair and legitimate process for the adjudication of a case is another unique aspect of this particular moot, which reflects the rebuilding of justice processes taking place within Indigenous legal traditions today. The final component of the moot is a take home exam where students write a judgment for the case they heard.
The final report of the TRC calls for significant actions to change the justice system’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. These calls to action extend to law societies, lawyers, law schools, and all levels of government.
“The Cree law moot proves that Indigenous legal traditions are fully capable of being applied to complex and contemporary issues. The process was inspiring for all of us and I think it can be inspiring and empowering even for those not involved with the course.”
How do Indigenous and non-Indigenous lawyers practice law and work with Indigenous clients in the age of reconciliation? Is our current case law and legislation compatible with justice and reconciliation for Indigenous peoples? How did we get to where we are today? In this highly interactive seminar, students read the TRC final report in conversation with legal issues that particularly impact Indigenous peoples in Canada. Topics include land rights and jurisdiction, governance, criminal justice, child welfare, and the civil action that led to the Indian Residential School settlement and the TRC. All students are encouraged to think critically about some of the challenging legal, philosophical, practical and human issues that arise in these areas.
- GRACE CLEVELAND, JD Candidate 2018
KAWASKIMHON NATIONAL ABORIGINAL MOOT 3-CREDIT COURSE Kawaskimhon is a word of Cree origin which can be translated as “speaking with knowledge”. The Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot brings together law students from across Canada to participate in activities focused on Indigenous legal traditions and negotiate legal and policy issues affecting Inuit, Métis, and First Nations communities in Canada. Unlike other advocacy moots, it is a collaborative multi-party negotiation aimed at achieving consensus. Students submit a position paper on a specific problem that engages Canadian and Indigenous legal traditions as well as prepare for and participate in two days of negotiation.
Legal issues relating to and of interest to Indigenous peoples are also incorporated into the JD curriculum in these optional upper year courses:
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW BASIC OIL & GAS LAW INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW “Indigenous perspectives and the law and policy surrounding Aboriginal rights (including Aboriginal Title), Treaty Rights, and the Duty to Consult and Accommodate are intimately connected to resource development and environmental law and thus, they feature prominently in both my Environmental Law and Basic Oil & Gas Law courses. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is introduced in my International Environmental Law course, along with various case studies and experiences relevant to the evolution of the international legal order and global governance.”
LOW INCOME INDIVIDUALS AND THE LAW Professor Catherine Bell & Katherine Weaver This nine-credit course includes a pre-clinical orientation and training program, seminars, and a clinical placement working under the supervision of practicing lawyers in the fall and winter terms at the Edmonton Community Legal Centre or clinics operated in Edmonton by Legal Aid Alberta. The course connects case work, advocacy, and other forms of experiential learning with substantive and theoretical knowledge of legal issues faced by low income individuals, encourages professional responsibility, and shares the information necessary for a critical understanding of the social, economic, and cultural context of low income law, policy, and legal service delivery in Alberta. Training for all students includes an introduction to challenges and barriers faced by Indigenous clients, including the relationship between Canadian colonial laws and policies, and the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the justice system. Students may also have the opportunity to work with Indigenous clients at Youth Criminal Defence and Family Law Offices of Legal Aid.
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- Assistant Professor and Borden Ladner Gervais Fellow CAMERON JEFFERIES
PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW & INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW Professor Joanna Harrington & Professor Linda Reif The international protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples forms part of UAlberta Law’s foundational course in Public International Law and courses in International Human Rights Law taken by upper year law students. Public International Law covers topics of relevance to Canada’s Indigenous peoples, including: •
a discussion of the right of self-determination of peoples;
an introduction to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
a discussion of the state acquisition of territory.
International Human Rights Law courses may include topics such as: •
the use of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples through
domestic implementation and international complaints proceedings; •
the content and aims of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its protections of the rights of Indigenous women, and;
the inter-American human rights system and the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Issues of accountability and transnational justice may also be covered in courses in International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law. Students can also pursue their specific interests further through the writing of a research paper in a seminar course.
WATER LAW Professor David Percy Borden Ladner Gervais Chair of Energy Law and Policy This seminar on water law and management in western Canada provides students with a legal background in water law and an opportunity for supervised research and writing. Topics for discussion include responses to water scarcity, industrial use and reuse of water, wetlands, the protection of aquatic resources, Aboriginal water rights, water as a human right, problems of interjurisdictional waters, and water in international law. Students learn the historical legal background to water law in the prairie provinces, and the current legal and management framework for surface and ground water in Alberta, with comparisons to other jurisdictions in Canada and elsewhere. The course also examines constitutional responsibility for water in Canada and arrangements to deal with shared water resources.
DID YOU KNOW? Professor Joanna Harrington served as a legal adviser for Canada during the final year of negotiations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She also served as a member of Canada’s delegation for the negotiation of an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and previously assisted counsel for the Mohawk Nation with the first petition before the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights concerning the economic dimensions of cultural rights protection.
The discussion of Aboriginal water rights includes an introduction to Aboriginal views on water, the sources of Aboriginal water rights and a discussion of how Canadian governments can accommodate Indigenous water claims in heavily allocated systems. INDIGENOUS INITIATIVES
Student recruiter Courtney Wagner, Dean Paul Paton, and Professor Catherine Bell speak to undergraduate students at the Inspiring Possibilities event in November 2016.
RECRUITMENT We are committed to increasing awareness of the opportunities for Indigenous students to become UAlberta Law students, and to supporting our current Indigenous students as they prepare for successful legal careers.
Aboriginal Student Discovery Day – an event organized by the University that brings in Indigenous high school students from across the province to learn about the University, its programs and opportunities.
In 2016, a Student Recruitment and Financial Aid Officer position was created to assist with this as a priority, both to expand our outreach and to help qualified students access aid that might help overcome financial barriers to a legal education. In recent years, UAlberta Law has distributed more than $1M/ year in scholarships and bursary support, including dedicated support for Aboriginal and Indigenous students.
Visits to Indigenous communities – an initiative led by the University’s Aboriginal Student Services Centre and the Office of the Registrar where our staff members have visited Indigenous communities in the province to talk about life as a law student. In 2016, they visited the Alexander First Nation and met with more than 300 students from grades 7-12.
In December 2016, the Faculty hosted “Inspiring Possibilities”, an initiative sponsored jointly with the Office of the Provost to reach out to Indigenous undergraduates and encourage them to consider applying to law school. UAlberta Law staff also participate in a number of activities designed to reach Indigenous high school students – and younger – to plant the seed about university in general and law school in particular.
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Careers in Justice Day – our Student Life Coordinator worked with one of our alumni to host a Careers in Justice Day in November 2016 for Indigenous high school students and undergraduates to tour the Edmonton Law Courts and learn more about careers in the legal profession. Students witnessed real trials, heard Indigenous lawyers speak about their experiences, and visited information booths to learn about different areas of the justice system.
UAlberta recruiters visit junior and senior high school students at the Alexander First Nation. INDIGENOUS INITIATIVES
record and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score.
UAlberta Law’s Juris Doctor (JD) is a threeyear, undergraduate, professional degree. Each year we admit approximately 185 students. As a quota faculty with many more applications than we can accommodate, eligibility does not guarantee admission. Prospective law students apply in one of two categories: Regular or Aboriginal. We have had a separate admissions category for Aboriginal students since 1996. •
Admission in the Regular category is based primarily on an applicant’s pre-law academic
Admission in the Aboriginal category is also based on an applicant’s pre-law academic record and LSAT score, in addition to a number of special considerations designed to help address the traditional underrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples in the legal profession.
Should an applicant self-identify in the Aboriginal category, we request additional documentation for that file to be considered in the Aboriginal category: a resume, two letters of reference, and documentation of Aboriginal status. For detailed information on the admissions process, visit: www.ualberta.ca/law/admissions
CALENDAR Early July
December 1 – March 1
First Round Offers
Dean’s Welcome for Admitted Students
First Round Acceptance Deadline
Second Round Offers
Admission Requirements 1. An undergraduate degree, or at least the first three years (90 credits) of a program leading to an undergraduate degree. The degree or credits must be from an institution recognized by the University of Alberta, and it must have been completed prior to the September in which admission to law school is sought. 2. A valid LSAT score written within the fiveyear period prior to the September in which admission is sought. The last acceptable LSAT writing date for September admission is December of the previous year. Multiple LSAT scores within the period of validity will be averaged. 20
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3. If English is not your first language, you must meet the University of Alberta’s English language proficiency requirement. For more information, visit: www.studyincanada.ualberta.ca. 4. A personal statement meeting the criteria set out in the application checklist, available at: www.ualberta.ca/law/admissions. 5. A completed online application, available at: www.ualberta.ca/admissions. Students must submit their online application to the JD program BEFORE November 1 and all required documentation BEFORE February 1.
AWARDS & FINANCIAL AID There are a number of UAlberta Law awards, bursaries, and scholarships available for Indigenous students, including: Faculty of Law Entrance Scholarship â€˘
Awarded to a student with superior academic achievement entering the first year of study. Selection based on academic standing and the LSAT score. Preference given to a student who is of Aboriginal descent under the Constitution Act, 1982, Sections 35(2) or persons accepted by one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada as a member of their community.
ATCO Aboriginal Law Bursary â€˘
Awarded to students with satisfactory academic standing entering the first or third year, who are of Aboriginal descent under the Constitution Act, 1982, Sections 35(2) or persons accepted by one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada as a member of their community. Selection based on demonstrated financial need.
Hajduk Gibbs LLP Aboriginal Award •
Awarded to a student with satisfactory academic standing entering any year who is of Aboriginal descent as defined by the Constitution Act, 1982, Sections 35(2) or persons accepted by one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada as a member of their community. Selection based on volunteer service within an Indigenous community, and academic standing. Preference given to a student of Métis ancestry.
Peter Freeman QC Bursary for Indigenous Students in Law •
To be awarded annually to a student with satisfactory academic standing who is of Aboriginal descent as defined by the Constitution Act, 1982, Sections 35(2) or persons accepted by one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada as a member of their community. Recipient will be selected on the basis of demonstrated financial need.
In December 2016, UAlberta Law received a generous $10,000 donation from alumnus Lee Ahlstrom, Q.C. (LLB ’73), a retired lawyer in Sherwood Park. Mr. Ahlstrom – who is Métis – is one of the founding partners of Ahlstrom Wright Oliver & Cooper LLP. At his request, Mr. Ahlstrom’s donation is being directed to a bursary supporting Indigenous initiatives.
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Photography is normally prohibited in the longhouse, but a Māori member of the audience felt that it was appropriate for her to take pictures. She provided them to Prof. Percy for use.
Professor David Percy serves as expert witness at New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal In November 2016, Professor David Percy travelled to New Zealand to give expert evidence before the Waitangi Tribunal. The Waitangi Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry that makes recommendations on claims brought by Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand. This unique body has no Canadian equivalent and addresses claims relating to legislation, policies, actions or omissions of the Crown that are alleged to
breach the terms of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Percy was retained at the second stage of the National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources Inquiry. The first stage of the inquiry found that Māori Indigenous water rights exist in New Zealand. Percy was providing evidence in an effort to determine how those rights can be accommodated in a system where most of the available water has already been allocated to others.
SPOTLIGHT Reconciliation – Wahkohtowin conference In September 2017, UAlberta Law and the Centre for Constitutional Studies are co-hosting the Reconciliation / Wahkohtowin conference within Treaty Six on lands of the Enoch Cree Nation at the River Cree Resort. The conference is the third and final in a series of conferences, part of the Constitution 150 partnership: a year-long collaboration between the Centre for Constitutional Studies, the University of Alberta, the University of Ottawa, and the Université de Montréal to mark the
150th anniversary of Confederation and to explore the critical constitutional issues of Canada’s future. The conference will focus on how to translate the spirit of reconciliation into constitutional text, practice, culture, and law. Conference organizers include UAlberta Law’s Eric Adams, Catherine Bell, and Hadley Friedland; the Centre’s Patricia Paradis; Elders; and UAlberta Native Studies’ Sean Robertson and Adam Gaudry.
ALUMNI PROFILES We are tremendously proud of the accomplishments of our Indigenous alumni. Here are four of their stories.
She has also volunteered as a board member for the Alberta Restorative Justice Association and as a member of the Law Society of Alberta’s Access to Justice Committee. She was also co-chair of the First Nations Women’s Economic Security Council. Closer to home, she is a leader with the Leduc Girl Guides and Brownies where she mentors young children.
Chief Wilton Littlechild Photo Credit: Akemi Matsubuchi
Ms. Lightning-Earle (LLB ‘07) – recipient of the 2016 University of Alberta Alumni Horizon Award – is a triple-graduate of the University of Alberta, with degrees in recreation and leisure, arts, and law. A lawyer, leader, mentor, and advocate for Indigenous peoples in Canada, she is the founder of Thunderbird Law, a firm which focuses on governance and working with First Nations to create their own constitutions. During her time at law school, Ms. LightningEarle was president of the Indigenous Law Students’ Association. Since then, she was an elected council member for the Samson Cree Nation, and is the co-founder of HUB, a community mobilization program that combines police, social services, education, and health resources in an effort to help reduce crime. Ms. Lightning-Earle is currently the president of the Indigenous Bar Association, vicepresident of the Kasohkowew Child Wellness Society, board member for the First Nations Caring Society, and a member of the Federal Court Aboriginal Bar Liaison Committee.
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Chief Littlechild – the first Treaty First Nation person to earn a UAlberta Law degree (LLB ’76) – operates the law firm of J. Wilton Littlechild, Barrister and Solicitor, on the Ermineskin Reserve. Most recently a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Chief Littlechild was appointed Honorary Chief for the Maskwacis Crees and also honoured by the Chiefs of the Confederacy of Treaty 7 and 8 First Nations as the International Chief for Treaty 6. Chief Littlechild was a member of Parliament for the riding of Wetaskiwin-Rimbey from 1988-1993, where he served on several senior committees in the House of Commons and as a parliamentary delegate to the United Nations. A champion athlete inducted into seven sports halls of fame, Chief Littlechild was also a founder of the North American Indigenous Games, and selected as torch bearer and ambassador for the 2010 Olympics. In addition to his law degree, Chief Littlechild holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in physical education, and in 2007 was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta.
The Honourable Leonard S. Mandamin
An Anishnawbe member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Justice Mandamin (LLB ’82) has served on the Federal Court of Canada since 2007. Called to the Alberta bar in 1983, Justice Mandamin established the law firm of Mandamin and Associates in 1985, where he represented First Nations, Indigenous organizations, and individuals. During his career as a lawyer, he appeared as counsel before the Alberta Queen’s Bench and Provincial Courts, and before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, and the Indian Claims Commission. Justice Mandamin has served as faculty coordinator for Aboriginal Justice Seminars at the Banff School of Management and as Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta School of Native Studies. He also served as chair of the Edmonton Police Commission (1991-1995) and as president of the Canadian Native Friendship Centre in Edmonton (1990). Prior to being appointed to the Federal Court, Justice Mandamin served as a Provincial Court judge in the Calgary Criminal Division of the Provincial Court of Alberta (1999 - 2007). In addition to his law degree, Justice Mandamin holds a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Harold Robinson speaking to students at the Law Centre in November 2016.
Admitted to the Law Society of Alberta in 1994, Mr. Robinson (LLB ’93) is a Métis lawyer and mediator from Edmonton. He is the Tribunal Secretary/Director for the Métis Settlements Appeal Tribunal, and is also on the national roster of mediators for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Mr. Robinson adjudicated Indian Residential School claims for 12 years, and is now proposing that Alberta establish a provincial secretariat for reconciliation. Mr. Robinson is an active volunteer in the community and is serving or has served as a trustee for the Canadian Museum of Nature, as a panelist for the Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards, as a mentor to students at UAlberta Law and the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, and as a member of the Phoenix Multi-Faith Society for Harmony. Mr. Robinson also coaches community soccer, and he recently completed the Driving Government Performance program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
“The addition of Dr. Friedland’s course on Indigenous laws, the January 2017 launch of a new ‘Gladue’ experiential learning opportunity that will be the first of its kind in Canada, and the inclusion of introduction to Indigenous legal traditions for all first-year students as part of the Foundations of Law course are just three ways that UAlberta Law is responding to the recommendations of the TRC that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and Canadian law schools ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, including in the history and legacy of residential schools, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights. We have much yet to do, but are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that our law students enter the legal profession with knowledge of Indigenous laws and legal traditions, a firm understanding of the application of Canadian law to Indigenous peoples, and the skills to interact with respect and understanding with people from a variety of Indigenous societies. Including an examination of these issues in our curriculum is incredibly important – not just for students’ legal competency, but also because of our shared responsibility as officers of the court and our role as leaders in Canadian society.” - DEAN PAUL PATON
UAlberta Law – Admissions – JD Program – Aboriginal Applicants https://www.ualberta.ca/law/admissions/juris-doctor/aboriginal-applicants UAlberta Law – Foundations Course Video http://bit.ly/2fdTAfZ University of Alberta Aboriginal Student Services Centre www.aboriginalservices.ualberta.ca/ University of Alberta Aboriginal / Indigenous Index of Web Links www.ualberta.ca/aboriginal-indigenous University of Alberta Institutional Strategic Plan: For the Public Good www.ualberta.ca/strategic-plan University of Alberta’s law school takes steps to recruit more indigenous students http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/university-of-albertas-lawschool-takes-steps-to-recruit-more-indigenous-students Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – Calls to Action http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_ English2.pdf
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