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UVic launches the world's first Indigenous law degree

dr. val napoleon with painting in background

Feminist, artist, grandmother and embracer of disruption, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Law Dr. Val Napoleon is one of the most influential legal scholars in Canada. She is changing legal education and the lawscape of Canada as the co-founder of the Indigenous Law Degree Program.

The joint degree program builds upon our longstanding commitment to, and international reputation in, Indigenous law and Indigenous legal education.

The Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU)

ILRU, the only dedicated research centre on Indigenous law in Canada, is committed to the recovery and renaissance of Indigenous laws. It has formed partnerships with more than 40 Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast, researching those peoples’ legal traditions in all their diverse forms and addressing the full scope of laws that any community requires to live peacefully and harmoniously in the world.

A new Indigenous Legal Lodge will house the Indigenous Law program and ILRU, and will be a national forum for critical engagement, debate, learning, public education and partnership on Indigenous legal traditions and their use, refinement and reconstruction. The design will reflect and honour the long-standing relationships between the law school and local First Nations communities.

The leaders of these initiatives, Professors John Borrows and Val Napoleon, have been largely responsible for setting the agenda in understanding and engaging, with rigour and insight, Indigenous law. Their advice had a real impact on our deliberations within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

- Senator Murray Sinclair, Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

In the news

Open Indigenous law centre becomes a reality

Indigenous law centre becomes a reality

The National Centre for Indigenous Laws was made a reality at UVic with $13 million from the BC government, $9.1 million from the federal government and $5 million from the Law Foundation of BC.

Open Expert on Indigenous systems of governan

Expert on Indigenous systems of governan

Val Napoleon is an expert on Indigenous systems of law and governance and can discuss the “oversimplified dichotomy between hereditary chiefs and elected band councils”, Indigenous legalities...

He spent his life immersed in Indigenous law...

The Star: He spent his life immersed in Indigenous law...


See more videos from the Vital impact - Indigenous research playlist on YouTube.