How young lawyers can use the Truth and Reconciliation Toolkit
It’s never too early to start responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.
When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report in 2015, it included calls to action specific to law schools and members of the legal profession. But how can a student or young lawyer do her part as she works to get established in a new career?
When we know better, we can do better, which is why the Canadian Bar Association put together a Truth and Reconciliation Toolkit to give members of the legal profession actionable guidance and resources on what they need to do to become better allies to Indigenous people, at every stage of their professional journey.
Of particular interest to young lawyers is the Toolkit section on learning, celebrating and supporting Indigenous communities. Everyone within a firm can learn more about allyship, about the ways they should engage with Indigenous Elders, the cultural protocols to keep in mind, how to do meaningful land acknowledgements and why Indigenous-specific training on anti-racism and unconscious bias is so important.
The Toolkit will also help young lawyers find the Indigenous Friendship Centre closest to them, discover Indigenous artists and increase their Indigenous Quotient, or IQ, for instance by understanding why some individuals may be hesitant to point with their fingers while others raise eyebrows to signal agreement.
Indigenous law and legal tradition
Finally, the Toolkit includes a reference hub for comprehensive glossaries, terminology guides, and many other resources to understand everything from the Indian Act to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how they apply to the Canadian context.
The Toolkit is designed to help every lawyer along their reconciliation journey, no matter where they are in their career. As CBA President Bradley Regehr says, reconciliation is difficult work. We hope this Toolkit serves as inspiration for lawyers as they move forward on this path of reconciliation.