Efforts to amend First Nations law course rejected
Lakehead University student protestors in Thunder Bay say changes to Aboriginal class not enough
Student protestors at Lakehead University say a proposed change to the law school curriculum does not address their concerns.
The university plans to add another half-credit course on aboriginal perspectives to complement its existing first-year Aboriginal issues class.
A spokesperson for the protestors said that still doesn't replace what they claim was more thorough Aboriginal content.
"They're going to take two separate courses and try and run them parallel to each other to address the issues that Native Canadian World Views deals with," Stephanie MacLaurin said.
"We don't feel that that does justice to the Native Canadian World Views program."
The protest began a couple of weeks ago after the university Senate replaced a full-credit class on world views from the perspective of Aboriginal people with a half-credit law course on how those views fit in the legal system. Students complained the focus of the course became much narrower.
Protest to continue
Despite the most recent amendment to the curriculum, MacLaurin said demonstrators will continue their sit-in for another two weeks.
Lakehead University said Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Métis Council of Ontario both support the proposed new course called Aboriginal Perspectives.
University provost Rod Hanley said this new class will allow students to benefit first-hand from working in the community.
"Any time we can get students out into the community … so that they can see and feel and hear what's actually going on the real world, the better off those students will be as they get prepared for their professional careers," he said.
The university senate has yet to approve course, however.
Hanley said the students’ demonstration has "reminded, I think, Lakehead University of that relationship that we have with the Aboriginal community … in that respect, [the students] have done a service for the institution."
Hanley wouldn’t comment on the protestors' rejection of the proposal.