Val Napoleon honoured with Indigenous Peoples' Counsel award

Val Napoleon was honoured with the Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel (I.P.C.) award in Vancouver on Friday, October 14th at the annual conference of the Indigenous Bar Association.

Val holds the Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance at the University of Victoria and is one of Canada's most influential Indigenous scholars. She founded the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU), which is the only dedicated Indigenous law research program in the country and through which she partnered with the Indigenous Bar Association and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to inform much of the Indigenous law content of the final report, particularly Recommendation 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."

Val and her colleague, John Borrows, are working to establish the first such institute. 

ILRU has worked with over 40 First Nations communities to apply their own laws to specific issues within their communities. The process is driven by community members, elders and knowledge-keepers and achieves its goal of knowledge sharing through interviews, workshops and comprehensive reports. The work undertaken by Val and ILRU is truly groundbreaking and is changing the landscape of Canadian law. The Indigenous Peoples' Counsel award recognizes her immense contribution to the recognition and revitalization of Indigenous law. 

More information about the award can be found here.