Indigenous Bar Association Calls Upon the Legal Community to Implement the TRC’s Calls to Action.
For Immediate Release
June 16, 2015
INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION CALLS UPON THE LEGAL COMMUNITY TO
IMPLEMENT THE TRC’S CALLS TO ACTION.
The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (“Indigenous Bar Association”) would like to thank all residential school Survivors and their families for their courage, strength and resilience in sharing their painful experiences as students in the residential school system with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (“TRC”), and ultimately, with Canadians.
We would also like to thank TRC Commissioners Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair (Indigenous Peoples Counsel), Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild (Indigenous Peoples Counsel), as well as TRC Survivor Committee members and staff, for all of their hard work over the past six years.
The TRC has completed the difficult task of gathering Survivors’ stories and documenting the history and impacts of the residential schools legacy. Now, the TRC is calling on all Canadians to take action to advance the process of reconciliation within Canada. We join the TRC and call on all Canadians, including all levels of government in Canada, to review and implement all 94 Calls to Action in their homes, workplaces, and everyday lives.
In particular, we join the TRC in calling to action the following:
- Government of Canada (in consultation with Aboriginal organizations): to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls
- Canadian Governments: to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation
- Federation of Law Societies of Canada: to develop and implement appropriate cultural competency training for all lawyers in Canada
- Canadian Law Schools: to develop and implement mandatory courses on Aboriginal peoples and the law
We also remind Canadians that Indigenous peoples can rely on their own Indigenous Legal Orders to help redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation. The Indigenous Bar Association recently partnered with the TRC and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law’s Indigenous Law Research Clinic (funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario) on the Accessing Justice and Reconciliation Project (“AJR Project”). The AJR Project made four recommendations in its final report that are relevant to reconciliation, namely:
- Further research is needed to identify and articulate the full breadth of principled legal response and resolutions within Indigenous legal traditions
- Further research is needed (i) to more clearly identify or develop legal processes necessary for a decision to be accepted as legitimate by those impacted by it, and (ii) identify the guiding or underlying constitutive principles that form interpretative bounds within specific Indigenous legal orders
- Support community-based research and engagement processes to enable communities to identify and discuss legal principles so they become more explicit and accessible within communities themselves
- Support community justice and wellness initiatives to identify and articulate guiding or supporting legal principles, as a basis for developing, grounding and evaluating current practices and programming addressing pressing social issues within their communities
The Indigenous Bar Association calls upon the Canadian legal community, including lawyers, judges, academics, law clerks and students, as well as all other Canadians, to assist immediately in implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at: klightning-[email protected] or at 780.721.2345 or visit our website at www.indigenousbar.ca.