At our National Training Conference each May, we train our Program Coordinators to manage their chapters and develop impactful projects to promote access to justice in their communities. We used our 2017 conference to help advance our organizational commitment to respond to the Calls to Actions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — a commitment to educate ourselves about Indigenous rights and issues and to increase our Indigenous-focused projects.
We are happy to report that our Program Coordinators returned to their law schools and developed approximately two dozen new projects related to Indigenous law, Aboriginal rights and/or Indigenous Peoples for the 2017/18 school year. While these new projects are unified by their particular relevance to Indigenous communities, they are varied in type, scope and geographic location. Here are a few examples:
PBSC UVic’s has a new project with Ecotrust Canada. A team of students is working with Ecotrust staff and partners to create legal information materials about Indigenous community involvement in fisheries monitoring.
Together with partner organization the New Brunswick Aboriginal People’s Council, PBSC student volunteers are creating a resource guide on province-wide services for friends and families of missing Indigenous women. The guide will ultimately be used to support a province-wide 24/7 helpline.
In Manitoba, PBSC student volunteers will assist the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Coalition to prepare for expert and institutional panels by doing legal research on child welfare, Indigenous culture and traditions in relation to violence prevention, policing, and others.
In Calgary, PBSC students are working with Calgary Legal Guidance to create public legal education materials on topics such as status cards, matrimonial property on reserves, and hunting and fishing rights.
At PBSC Lakehead, a student volunteer is working with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario researching and drafting plain-language resources for incarcerated women about their rights as inmates. A workshop will complement the print resources.
We are gratified to see the interest in projects working with and for Indigenous communities. We look forward to continued growth in this important area!
Amanda Carling, University of Toronto Law Faculty’s Manager of Indigenous Initiatives, welcomes guests to our conference opening dinner at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Amanda meaningfully explained the significant of acknowledging the land.