Walking parallel paths, together, in a good way
We acknowledge the traditional territories of the People of the Treaty 7 Region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprising the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). The City of Calgary is also situated on the historic Métis homeland and home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.
Responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission
In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) identified 94 Calls to Action. Several of those recommendations focused on access to jobs, training and education opportunities, along with the need for meaningful consultation when developing new programming.
Calls to Action 27 and 28 together recommend a significant deepening of the level of preparedness of the Canadian legal profession to serve the needs of Indigenous communities and peoples across Canada and prepare the legal profession to help move towards meaningful reconciliation.
Our aim is to respond squarely to the gaps identifies in the TRC report with the implementation of a comprehensive Indigenous strategy at the Faculty level.
Our Standing Committee on Indigenous Strategy
In 2017, we convened our first standing committee on Indigenous strategy. Our mandate includes not only developing responses to the ii' taa' poh' to' p strategy and the TRC Calls to Action, but, more broadly, the support of our current Indigenous law students and the recruitment of future Indigenous law students.
We have made good progress to date. Through the years, students in our first-year curriculum have:
- Participated in the Kairos blanket exercise during their Foundations of Law and Justice course;
- Visited Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park – the site of the signing of Treaty 7 – for a day of treaty education;
- Completed the Law Society of Alberta’s Indigenous Cultural Competency Education “The Path” and the Canadian Bar Association’s “The Path” programming during their Foundations of Law and Justice course;
- Received training in Indigenous and Critical Race perspectives, and anti-racism training.
We have also expanded our second and third-year program offerings, including courses on:
- Indigenous Peoples and the Law
- Indigenous Legal Theory
- Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
- Selected Topics in Indigenous Peoples and the Law
- Legal Practice: Indigenous Business Law
- Reconciliation & Lawyers
- Negotiating Indigenous Rights
In addition students can participate in the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot.
We strive to ensure that non-Indigenous students are well positioned to start their legal careers being able to view the law with an understanding of the history and complex relationships between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian justice system, while ensuring Indigenous students are empowered and well-supported in following their passions.
Our committee works closely with the student-lead Indigenous Law Students Association to support students and provide opportunities to engage with legal issues, Indigenous legal academics, Indigenous practitioners, and Indigenous Knowledge keepers and Elders. This includes guest lectures, funding for conference activities, and support for student-led initiatives.
We hope to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive legal profession by ensuring Indigenous students interested in attending law school have the support they need throughout their time at UCalgary Law, and that they will be able to thrive in their legal careers.
Do you have questions about attending the Faculty of Law as an Indigenous student? Contact our Coordinator, Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation.
In the News: CBC
'My Indigenous identity is what keeps me grounded,' says Yellowknifer celebrating law degree
Indigenous Art at UCalgary Law
Murray Fraser Hall is home to a number of art pieces created by Indigenous artists.
The Rain Man, by Dale Auger, hangs at the top of the central stairwell and can be seen from the atria on the third and fourth floors.
A Sakaw Cree from the Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta, Dale Auger was a prolific visual artist, storyteller, playwright and comedian. His vividly coloured acrylics have captured the complexities of Indigenous history, as well as the intricate links between Indigenous spirituality and the natural laws of the land.
Auger studied at Grant MacEwan College, Mount Royal College, Alberta College of Art and Design, and the University of Calgary, where he completed his Bachelor of Education (1992), Master of Education (1996), and PhD in Education (1999).
His acrylic and oil paintings are held in many notable public and private collections around the world. He is also the author of an award-winning children's book, Mwakwa Talks to the Loon, for which he was awarded Aboriginal Children's Book of the Year in 2006, and received the 2007 R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature.
In 1994, Lest We Forget found a permanent home on the University of Calgary campus, through the efforts of Dean of Law Sheilagh Martin and some law faculty alumnae. The piece by Calgary artist Teresa Posyniak remembers and protests violence against women through language, motifs of nature and ominous images of deterioration and disappearance. The sculpture, which is close to a storey high but with a broken-off top that suggests its reach could be much higher, sits in the airy main foyer of the Law Building. The location was deliberately chosen to encourage members of the legal profession to be mindful of feminist social justice and legislative inadequacies in the protection of women.
In addition to the names of the 14 women killed at L’École Polytechnique in 1989, the sculpture includes the names of Aboriginal women and sex trade workers who were the victims of gender-based violence. The piece serves to honour all victims, but also to draw attention to the inadequacies of the legal system which is supposed to protect all Canadians, and the reason why its placement in the Faculty of Law is so meaningful.