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A path towards reconciliation

Recognizing National Indigenous History Month.

Dreamcatcher in a  storm

The recent discovery of children found buried in Kamloops is a heartbreaking reminder of the terrible legacy of the residential school system and that there is a long way to go before we achieve reconciliation. For many, progress is not moving quickly enough, and for others, there is a strong interest in further understanding the ongoing commitment and responsibility we have as a country and individuals. This month we look at reconciliation from an Alberta perspective and consider how advancement is possible.  

Ninety-four Calls to Action: a current analysis with a focus on the justice system begins our discussion.  Our authors critique the slow progress made in justice reform, identify its harmful relationship to Indigenous peoples and propose applying Indigenous laws as a valid worldview towards reconciliation. 

If changed relations require a better understanding, is the path forward clearer through legal education? How relevant is a call for mandatory enrollment in Aboriginal and Indigenous Law studies by law students? Our author posits that Call to Action #28 goes beyond teaching a basic understanding of customary Aboriginal law. Instead, it calls on law schools to teach anti-dominance training within a decolonization framework.  It offers a means to address anti-Indigenous racism and makes room for respecting and engaging Indigenous traditions. 

Also integral to reconciliation is self-governance. To illustrate the challenge, we look at the work of the Metis Nation of Alberta as it enacts its constitution. 

Finally, we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada by highlighting the renewal of Indigenous laws in a companion piece that focuses its application through the Wahkohtowin Indigenous Laws and Governance Lodge.  One absolute path to reconciliation is people capital.  More Indigenous students graduate from law school, practice law, and teach academia, which creates the opportunity for more appointments to the bench, and more immediately, perhaps to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Special thanks and appreciation to Apryl Gladue and Dr. Hadley Friedland for helping connect us to our contributors and for their assistance in bringing this edition together. 

Progress is ongoing.  We honour Indigenous Peoples and dedicate this edition towards reconciliation through awareness of the work yet to be done, a celebration of accomplishment, and action for what is possible.