This is a joint presentation with the Law Society of Alberta.
LLB, LLM, Indigenous Initiatives Liaison, Law Society of Alberta
There is an increasing recognition of the need for more meaningful inclusion of Indigenous peoples of Canada in the conventional justice system. For this to happen, advocates must be educated about the unique circumstances of Indigenous peoples, how to engage in allyship, and how to work together with Indigenous communities on reconciliation efforts. An Advocate's Guide to the Calgary Indigenous Court (CIC) provides a unique opportunity to learn about a specialized approach to criminal law, as informed by Indigenous justice and laws.
Established in 2019, the CIC aims to ensure that the Gladue principle is applied meaningfully to each participant by providing an Indigenous approach to restorative justice through cultural healing, Indigenous laws, consistent elder support and wrap around support services during participation with the Court (and potentially after conclusion of criminal charges). The CIC incorporates some Indigenous traditional ceremonies appropriate for the region, as well as Healing Plans that involve not only community support agencies, but opportunities for Indigenous participants to connect with their Indigenous heritage. The CIC has four judges. One of the judges is Indigenous, and the three other judges have experience working within Indigenous court models, such as Siksika. The CIC also utilizes Indigenous Crown Prosecutors, Indigenous Legal Counsel, Indigenous restorative justice peacemakers, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, Indigenous court workers, Indigenous city police officers, and numerous community support agencies that meet once a week to go over each individual Healing Plan for the participant. This work is also seen across Canada, where similar efforts are underway at, for example, Gladue Courts in Ontario between Aboriginal Legal Services, courts, and the Indigenous participants.
Our program faculty will educate the bar in Alberta and nationally about how traditional Indigenous customs, laws, and ways of understanding and practicing justice in a restorative and holistic light can work evenly alongside the conventional justice system we see today and how that can contribute not only to lower incarcerations rates for Indigenous peoples in Calgary, but can also include the Crown, Courts and Defence Counsel in taking steps towards reconciliation.
The Advocates' Society is very fortunate to be joined by Andrea Menard, Indigenous Initiatives Liaison for the Law Society of Alberta. Andrea will moderate a discussion with Jessica Buffalo of Legal Aid Alberta, who represents Indigenous individuals appearing at the Court, Adam Drew, Prosecutor at the Court, and Ronda Dalshaug of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, who is the Facilitator of the Case Management Table.
Whether you represent Indigenous clients who may appear in urban courts, or you are in a rural area and see no supports for Indigenous individuals who come before the court and you want to improve your ability to represent Indigenous clients; whether you are an advocate seeking to become more educated about allyship and reconciliation with the Indigenous communities as it relates to criminal law and Indigenous laws; this is a special learning opportunity for all Canadian advocates. We hope you can join us from 12:00pm to 1:30pm (MT) on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021, for this informative and important discussion.
Calgary Indigenous Court Presentation Outline:
- Why it was established and what the goals are;
- The unique operations and specialized approach to Indigenous restorative justice that seeks to rehabilitate participants in a genuine manner that correlates with Indigenous cultural values and norms;
- Sohksipaitapiisin ('Good Life') Community Management Table and what its functions are and how vital it is to the court;
- How Indigenous laws are emerging and recognized in the conventional justice system;
- How Indigenous participants are reconnecting with their culture;
- Dispelling common misconceptions about Indigenous court;
- Tips for navigating this court and being an effective advocate;
- How the pandemic has impacted the court and Indigenous communities’ involvement;
- What all advocates can do to be allies and support reconciliation efforts
Registration for this program is complimentary to all.
*Due to current concerns with COVID-19, we will be offering this program fully remotely via webcast only.
Please review the system requirements to view a Zoom event here.