Justiceiss

Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government 

Why?
Aug. 23, 2019 – On August 23, 1989, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government enacted its first modern written law, the Nemiah Declaration, and the law was affirmed by Xeni Gwet’in and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation in 2015. The Nulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan law comes into force on August 23, 2019 – the 30th anniversary of the Nemiah Declaration.
Comment
The law applies to hunting and other activities, except trapping, that may affect wildlife and habitat within the Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands. In particular, the law regulates hunting by Tŝilhqot’in and non-Tŝilhqot’in persons. All persons are expected to familiarize themselves with the law, and ensure their compliance with the law while in the Tŝilhqot’in Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands.

Assembly of First Nations in Supreme Court R vs Barton SCC 33

Why?
May 24, 2019 – As an intervenor in Supreme Court R vs Barton 2019 SCC 33 in support of justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and for more respectful treatment of Indigenous women in the justice system. Bradley Barton was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cindy Gladue in June 2011 and a jury acquitted him following a month-long trial in 2015. 
https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17800/index.do
Comment
In its submissions, the AFN argued the importance of the mandatory requirements of s. 276 of the Criminal Code to protect the equality and privacy rights of a victim, and the necessity for fair and balanced instructions to the juries regarding racial biases. The AFN also argued that the characterizations of Cindy Gladue during the trial perpetuated myths and stereotypes about Indigenous women that should not form any part of Canadian law.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Osgoode Hall Law School

Why?
May 23-24, 2018 – determinNATION: Moving Beyond the Indian Act Conference will be Indigenous-led and will create a venue for a broad range of voices including Indigenous youth, women, leaders, Elders, legal and scholarly experts, keepers of traditional Indigenous knowledge, as well as representatives from the Government of Canada to create a plan for moving beyond the Indian Act.
Comment
The event will cover principles that underlie the Indigenous-government relationship and include a diverse range of delegates, presenters, and other special guests. Working together, participants will contribute to a concrete, actionable solution for overcoming barriers to de-colonize the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada.

University of Victoria: Indigenous Law Program and Indigenous Legal Lodge

Why?
Feb. 21, 2018 – Students will graduate with two professional degrees, one in Canadian Common Law (Juris Doctor or ‘JD’) and one in Indigenous Legal Orders (Juris Indigenarum Doctor or ‘JID’). Their education will benefit areas such as environmental protection, Indigenous governance, economic development, housing, child protection and education—areas where currently there is an acute lack of legal expertise to create institutions that are grounded in Indigenous peoples’ law and to build productive partnerships across the two legal systems.
The Indigenous Law Program would be composed of two key components that respond to these needs.
First: A four-year dual-degree in which students would acquire degrees in both the Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders. Students will participate in practical, hands-on learning in field schools and work on Indigenous territories across the country, learning from Indigenous experts and contributing to the operation of Indigenous institutions. They will gain the skills to build legitimate processes that draw upon Indigenous traditions to translate across Indigenous and non-Indigenous legal, social and economic structures.
Second: The Indigenous Legal Lodge – a national forum for critical engagement, debate, learning, public education, and partnership on Indigenous legal traditions and their use, refinement, and reconstruction today. This would both house the educational programs and be a national gathering place for professional and community education on Indigenous legal traditions, and a research institute promoting rigorous engagement Canada-wide.
Comment
it would be an institution of international significance, as countries worldwide are struggling with similar challenges in how to recognize and work with Indigenous legal orders. It will serve as a global centre of excellence for understanding, developing, and deploying Indigenous legal institutions, including the structures that can build and sustain healthy relationships between Indigenous peoples and states.

Orange Shirt Day

Why?
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself. 
Comment
As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl.  The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind.  

Sisters in Spirit Vigils

Why?
2006 – Vigils take place across Canada and internationally every October 4 to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Hosted for the first time in 2006 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), 11 vigils were held that year. In 2017 there were an impressive 212 vigils held across Canada and internationally.
Comment
Family members, Indigenous community members, and concerned citizens gather for a vigil every October 4th to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Vigils take place in communities across Canada as well as internationally. These gatherings serve to raise awareness and to provide support to families who have lost a loved one. (NWAC)

The Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot

Why?
Established in 1995 at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot is unique among moot court competitions in the world, in that it is conducted in accordance with Aboriginal customs of peaceful negotiation and consensus-building rather than adversarial competition. The moot attracts teams from law schools across Canada. The 2019 Moot is at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University with representation from 18 Law Schools from across Canada
Comment
Each team represents a different party in a complex negotiation concerning Aboriginal law, and works toward consensus with the help of Aboriginal facilitators and an elder. The format of Kawaskimhon, which is a Cree word meaning “to speak with knowledge,” encourages students to bring their unique personal perspectives to bear on a collective problem affecting Aboriginal peoples and to work toward a mutual consensus.

Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Why?
April 3, 2019 – Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC released “Red Women Rising”, a comprehensive report regarding the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The over-representation in statistics on homicides, poverty, homelessness, child apprehensions, police street checks, incarceration, and overdose fatalities is not a coincidence; it is part of an infrastructure of gendered colonial violence. Colonial state practices target women for removal from Indigenous lands, tear children from their families, enforce impoverishment, and manufacture the conditions for dehumanization.
Comment
This unprecedented work shares their powerful first-hand realities of violence, residential schools, colonization, land, resource extraction, family trauma, poverty, labour, housing, child welfare, being two-spirit, police, prisons, legal system, opioid crisis, healthcare, and more. “We stand behind this excellent report and the Indigenous leadership it provides on the elimination of gender-based violence on these lands.” – Yellowhead Institute.
http://dewc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MMIW-Report-Final-March-10-WEB.pdf

University of Victoria: Institute of Indigenous Law

Why?
The Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) is a world leader in the study and application of Indigenous law. ILRU has partnered with over 50 Indigenous communities across Canada on legal research questions related to lands, water, governance, citizenship, gender and human rights, harms and injuries, and child welfare, and works with institutions across the globe to revitalize and rebuild Indigenous legal orders.
Comment
The Indigenous Law Research Unit of the Faculty of Law works to redefine Canadian law so that Indigenous legal traditions are re-established and given equal footing with common law.
Some of these major current and past research collaborations include:
1. Water law project: water stewardship and watershed management research exploring how Indigenous communities and licensed water users in the agriculture and utility sector use water in the context of both Indigenous and Canadian law.
2. Kipimoojikewin (“the things we carry with us”): How Anishinaabe Law Upholds Local Governance
3. Tsimshian Inter-nation Co-operation and Dispute Resolution
4. Kwseltkten: Secwepemc Citizenship Law
5. Indigenous Governance and Citizenship: Developing a Collaborative ILRU Methodology
6. Tracking Change – The Role of Local and Traditional Knowledge in Watershed Governance
7. Revitalizing Law for Land, Air and Water Project

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