UVic law student wins $50k award to further Indigenous law
$50,000 award for Aaron Mills’ research on restoring and revitalizing Indigenous systems of law
University of Victoria law student Aaron Mills was awarded the prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Talent Award Tuesday.
The award, handed out in Ottawa, includes a $50,000 grant for Mills' graduate research on restoring and revitalizing Indigenous systems of law.
"Indigenous peoples have our own systems of law. It's not the case that we were wandering about bumping into each other before other folks showed up here," he told All Points West host Robyn Burns. "Our societies were organized in a particular way and we had ways of governing our behaviours and coordinating social action. It's about living our lives in those ways."
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Mills says his vision of Indigenous law is one not imposed from the top-down, but practised by ordinary people, Indigenous or not, to organize themselves or to resolve disputes.
"There are huge numbers of Indigenous folks who continue to live this way today in spite of the imposition of Canadian law," he said.
"Many of them, it's so ingrained, they're not conscious of even doing it. Many of them don't even think of governing themselves in the kinds of relationships their ancestors taught them to do as law."
Mills says in the Canada of #IdleNoMore and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Indigenous legal systems need to be taken seriously.
"I don't think we can have a healthy relationship without Indigenous law being part of that relationship," he said. "So I think what the award does … [is] allow me to cast my voice further. I'm able to advance those lines of dialogue."
With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West
To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: UVic law student wins $50k award to further Indigenous law