The Government of Canada is committed to walking the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and remains focused on renewing this relationship. This includes recognizing Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, supporting the revitalization of Indigenous legal systems and traditions, as well as acknowledging the integral role that Indigenous communities and organizations play in the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Dean Marie-Eve Sylvestre, from the Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section, of the University of Ottawa, announced funding to support the University of Ottawa’s Visual Laboratory on Indigenous Legal Orders of the Indigenous Law Certificate Program. Support for this initiative aligns with the Government of Canada’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action 50.
The University of Ottawa’s Certificate in Indigenous Law is the first of its kind in Canada. The program builds on Indigenous knowledge and languages, and will be offered entirely in French. It was designed and developed exclusively for Indigenous students.
The Certificate in Indigenous Law aims to revitalize and enhance Indigenous legal systems, to provide a more respectful welcome to Indigenous learners on their academic path in law, and ensure access to justice and legal education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The program’s Visual Laboratory on Indigenous Legal Orders will highlight Indigenous justice systems and laws by means of a series of short audio-visual vignettes featuring stories from participating First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. This innovative initiative aims to increase knowledge, awareness and understanding of the recognition of Indigenous laws and legal traditions and to encourage an enlightened dialogue within in the justice system and legal practice in this respect.
Call to Action 50 calls upon the federal government to collaborate with Indigenous organizations to fund Indigenous law institutes for the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice in for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Supporting Call to Action 50 aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which sets out the right of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their distinct legal institutions.
Justice Canada is providing $596,565 over three years to the University of Ottawa through its Justice Partnership and Innovation Program for this initiative.