UVic News – University of Victoria

A vision already under development for over 10 years, the National Center for Indigenous Laws (NCIL) is moving closer to becoming a publicly accessible national and international forum for dialogue, collection, education and promotion of resurgence of indigenous laws.

Although his vision is broad, the physical house at the center will be at UVic, in addition to the Fraser Law building, which is expected to complete construction in 2023. The building, funded by the governments of British Columbia and Canada. federal government, the Law Foundation of BC and other supporters, will house the Indigenous Law Research Unit, the Joint Studies Program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders (JD / JID), as well as ceremonial and community spaces .

This physical structure represents a sanctuary where our laws, which allow us to be peoples, will be safe, and where Indigenous and non-Indigenous students will learn more about these laws, thus creating the foundations for a multi-jurisdictional Canada.
Val Napoleon, Director of the Indigenous Law Program and Indigenous Law Research Unit, and Law Foundation Chair in Indigenous Justice and Governance.

How the center will facilitate and develop these conversations and connections was the subject of a national awareness-raising and engagement process that included a engagement center, a national survey and a series of open forums.

The events, hosted by UVic between February and April of this year, focused on four key themes with the aim of guiding the dialogue on the experiences, needs and aspirations of legal practitioners, educators, Indigenous leaders and communities.

The forums have been registered and can all be viewed on the engagement center:

Over 700 people participated in these forums. From community leaders to academics to lawyers, the 15 speakers and panelists come from diverse backgrounds and have experiences working with Indigenous laws.

Throughout the four events, hosts, panelists and participants reflected on the historical and contemporary challenges associated with the practice of Indigenous laws, as well as the possibilities to support their revitalization for future generations. Discussions focused on ways educators across the country can collaborate to enrich Indigenous legal education, what the future looks like for Indigenous law and legal research, and the work that lies ahead to realize this vision.

Forum topics also included how indigenous communities can use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a tool to advance their inherent rights, and how to achieve a future where indigenous laws, legal traditions and legal practices multi-legal space.

Clearly there is a great appetite for more conversation and work to be done to create a national center that reflects the needs and priorities of Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast.

NCIL’s vision continues with public inquiry

As we close the first phase of the national engagement and prepare to move on to the next phase, your contribution is essential. Take the five-minute survey before May 31.

Learn more about engagement center, take the survey or participate in one of the open forums above and help us envision the future of Indigenous laws in Canada.

About Geraldine Higgins

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