Windsor Law Introduces Indigenous Legal Traditions Course For First-Year Students

Friday August 24th, 2018

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Inside Windsor Law

Starting this fall, first year students with Windsor Law will be required to take an intensive Indigenous Legal Traditions course to fulfill the Juris Doctor requirements.

The course is designed to examine and engage with Indigenous legal orders, in particular Anishinaabe, Cree and Haudenosaunee laws.

The Faculty of Law is home to 37 leading legal scholars, including Indigenous scholars Valarie Waboose (former General Counsel to Walpole Island First Nation and an expert on the residential schools’ legacy), Jeffery Hewitt (former Indigenous Bar Association President and General Counsel for the Rama First Nation) and Beverly Jacobs (former President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, lead consultant and researcher of Amnesty’s “Stolen Sisters” Report and member of the Order of Canada).

The knowledge of our Indigenous faculty members has allowed Windsor Law to offer a range of courses related to Indigenous peoples, indigenize the curriculum material and improve the experience for Indigenous students.

Gloria Thomas and Bryan Loucks will be joining the Law School as sessional instructors to assist in teaching Indigenous Legal Traditions as well as Sylvia McAdam will be joining the Faculty as a Law Foundation of Ontario Scholar for a one-year appointment.

“In an era of Truth and Reconciliation as well as “Nation to Nation” dialogue, Indigenous peoples are rebuilding their nationhood and dismantling colonialism,” said McAdam. “Nêhiyaw (Cree) laws and other Indigenous laws are the foundation to rebuilding and it’s an exciting time to rebuild and revitalize inherent original instructions. ”

Windsor Law joins law schools across Canada who have implemented Indigenous courses and content to the curriculum following the recommendations put forth in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically Call to Action #28 that called upon Canadian law schools to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law.

“A big part of that commitment is bringing nation-nation relationships into our curriculum,” said Windsor Law Dean Christopher Waters. “That starts with learning Indigenous legal traditions on their own terms.”

Windsor Law, which sits on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy, comprised of the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi, has a strong commitment to enhance Indigenous voices and scholarship in the Windsor community and within the legal profession.

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