Visioning of the National Centre for Indigenous Laws continues with public survey

Help us envision the future of the National Centre for Indigenous Laws. Take the 5-minute survey by May 31st.

In September 2020, UVic Law received the last commitments of funding needed to fulfill a crucial aspect of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A National Centre for Indigenous Laws.

This physical structure represents a sanctuary where our laws, which enable us to be peoples, will be safe, and where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students will learn about those laws, creating the foundation to a multijuridical Canada.
Val Napoleon, director of the Indigenous law program and Indigenous Law Research Unit, and Law Foundation Chair of Indigenous Justice and Governance.

More than 10 years in the making, the national centre, set to complete construction in 2023, will be home to the Indigenous Law Research Unit, the joint degree program in Canadian Common law and Indigenous legal orders (JD/JID), as well as ceremonial and community spaces. But more than that, it will be a centre for dialogue, gathering, teaching and furthering the resurgence of Indigenous laws. How the centre will facilitate and build those conversations and connections has been the focus of a national outreach and engagement process which included an online engagement hub, a national survey and a series of open forums.

The four events centred around the following key themes that guided dialogue on existing experiences, needs and aspirations of practitioners, educators, Indigenous leaders and communities:

More than 700 people participated in these forums. From community leaders to academics to lawyers, the 15 speakers and panelists featured in the forums had diverse backgrounds and experiences working with Indigenous laws. Throughout the four events, they reflected on the historical and contemporary challenges with the practice of Indigenous laws, as well as the opportunities for supporting their revitalization for future generations. Discussions centered around:

  • Ways educators across the country can collaborate to enrich Indigenous legal education
  • What the future of indigenous law and legal research might look like and the work that lies ahead to achieve that vision.
  • How Indigenous communities can use UNDRIP as a tool to advance their inherent rights and jurisdiction.
  • What’s possible and needed to realize a future where Indigenous laws, legal traditions, and legal practices are thriving within a multi-juridical space.

It’s clear that there is great appetite for more conversations and work to be done in order to create a national centre that reflects the needs and priorities of Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast.

As we close out the first phase of the national engagement and prepare to move on to the next phase, your input is critical.

Find out more on the engagement hub, take the survey or catch up on any of the open forums above and help us envision the future of Indigenous laws in Canada.