Government of Canada supports the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge and launches a Call for Proposals for the revitalization of Indigenous laws

News release

August 14, 2019 - Edmonton, Alberta - Department of Justice Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of revitalizing Indigenous legal systems and the important role that Indigenous law institutes, in partnership with Indigenous communities, can play in the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced $134,127 in funding for the University of Alberta’s new Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge. This support will assist the development of the Lodge, workshops and Indigenous public legal education strategies. The creation of the Lodge is a response to the expressed needs of Indigenous communities and organizations, who want effective strategies to address pressing social issues, and to rebuild their own law and governance structures within their legal and governance traditions.

The Minister also launched a Call for Proposals for further projects over the next four years to support the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice, in accordance with the unique cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Call for Proposals will support renewed legal relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and will be in keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 50 by announcing $10 million over five years in support of Indigenous law initiatives across Canada. 

Quotes

“Creating space for the revitalization of Indigenous laws in the Canadian justice system, is an important part of meaningful reconciliation in Canada. I am proud the Government of Canada is supporting the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge in its work with Indigenous communities. The Call for Proposal will create many more opportunities across Canada for Indigenous governments and Canadian educational institutions to understand, develop and implement Indigenous laws.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada 

"I'm extremely proud to see the thoughtful and meaningful responses to the TRC Calls to Action that continue to emerge at the University of Alberta. The Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge will enable our faculty, staff, and students to collaborate with communities across Canada and deepen their critical work on Indigenous law and governance, and I want to thank the Government of Canada for their strong support." 

David H. Turpin
University of Alberta President and Vice-Chancellor

"After our inaugural Indigenous laws and governance methods workshop we received overwhelming participant feedback on how important this work is for Indigenous communities and how there is a strong desire for more in the future. This funding will allow us to respond to Indigenous communities' expressed needs and support their goals."

Shalene Jobin
Co-lead, Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge
Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies

"The Government's response to TRC #50 through this funding contributes to creating space where the challenging and exciting work of learning, rebuilding and developing Indigenous law and governance can grow and flourish. This is vital work for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike and is foundational to reconciliation in our justice system."

Hadley Friedland
Co-lead, Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law

Quick facts

  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action 50: In keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations, to fund the establishment of Indigenous law institutes for the development, use, and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice in accordance with the unique cultures of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

  • The Department of Justice Canada is providing funding for this initiative through its Justice Partnership and Innovation Program. This program supports activities that respond effectively to the changing conditions affecting Canadian justice policy.

  • The Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge is a joint initiative between the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. The Lodge is inspired by TRC Call to Action 50 and supports Indigenous law and governance through community-led collaborative research and engagement.

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Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-6568
rachel.rappaport@justice.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

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