Wednesday January 06, 2016
Aboriginal lawyers hopeful about the future of indigenous law in Canada
"No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with First Nations, the Métis and Inuit peoples." - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
When it comes to Canada's First Nations and the courts, there are a few signs to suggest this is the beginning of a new era. Take for instance, the milestone 2014 Supreme Court Tsilhqot'in ruling, affirming aboriginal title to traditional territory in B.C. – a case that's sure to have ripple effects across the country.
And then there's the appointment of Jody Wilson-Raybould as Canada's first ever aboriginal Justice Minister and Attorney General.
It's all part of the Trudeau Liberal government's promise to forge a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations.
Today, we're asking whether there is in fact cause for optimism. And we convened three aboriginal lawyers, who are themselves at the forefront of pushing for change.
- Karen Drake is a citizen of the Metis nation and an assistant professor at Lakehead University's Bora Laskin Faculty of Law in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
- Promise Holmes Skinner is Anishnaabe, and a senior manager with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto. She's also the Aboriginal Law Program Coordinator at the University of Toronto.
- Kris Statnyk is chʼichyàa from the Gwich'in community of Old Crow, Yukon, and an Associate with the Mandell Pinder law firm in Vancouver.
This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino.