THUNDER BAY, ON (September 4, 2013) Today, Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy attended the Lakehead University (LU) law school opening. He joined Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, LU President Dr. Brian Stevenson and other dignitaries in celebrating the opening of its doors for the 2013 charter class.
As the first law school to be opened in Ontario in over 40 years, it will follow a different path of the typical law school in that it will be more responsive to issues related to First Nations and the needs of the north and rural/small centres. It has been developed to respond to the shortage of lawyers and articling spots in the north.
Of the program, Beardy stated, “I am particularly pleased that the school has committed to addressing Aboriginal issues in all of its subjects—this is important not only for First Nations students, but Canadian students as well.” In discussions with its founding Dean, Beardy has raised the issues of Indigenous peoples and the Euro-Canadian legal and justice systems and how the relationship manifests on a broader scale. “It is my hope through this new law school’s direct relationship with First Nations it will be an innovative opportunity to start considering the laws and governance systems of Indigenous peoples in the field of law.”
Having been originally approached by Nishnawbe Aski Nation to develop it, the law school is a creation of First Nations and the community. “I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the 8 years of strong leadership and commitment of First Nations and other parties that lead to the opening of this new law school,” stated Beardy. As a continuation of this developmental work, the law school will be overseen by the Ogimaawin-Aboriginal Governance Council.
Lastly Beardy stated, “Today is a good day for First Nations to take up law as a career, I encourage any Indigenous person considering this opportunity to take it and in so doing, you will have my full support.”
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum, and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.
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Marla Monague, Strategy & Communications Policy Analyst/Researcher
Categorised in: Justice