June 18, 2018
Our Showcase keynote speaker Gabrielle Scrimshaw has inspired us to promote reconciliation by rebuilding relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. Humber College signed the Indigenous Education Protocol to commit to making Indigenous education a priority and to implement intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples through curriculum and learning approaches relevant to learners and communities. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action encourage us to create courses sharing the truth of the past, and comparing the settler ways with Indigenous traditional knowledge.
The Business School is meeting Humber’s aspirations pursuant to the Indigenous Education Protocol and is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by modifying the Paralegal Degree Program curriculum. The new course, Elder Law: Indigenous Legal Traditions, compares aboriginal law with Indigenous Legal Traditions. Students rely on a text co-edited by Dr. John Borrows, one of the pre-eminent First Nations legal scholars, and by Professor Michael Coyle, an experienced land claims mediator and aboriginal law scholar. Students reflect on the inter-generational trauma imposed by the residential schools, as well as relevant current events. They participate in an Aboriginal Moot which incorporates the application of Indigenous dispute resolution traditions. Some students self-identified as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, and shared personal reflections with the class.
Through the co-operation of our Elder Shelley Charles, and Aboriginal Resource Centre staff member Regina Hartwick, paralegal students had the privilege of participating in a traditional First Nations smudge ceremony to open Humber’s first-ever Aboriginal Moot in April 2018. Associate Dean James Cullin and Program Co-ordinator Bernard Aron attended the Aboriginal Moot in support of the new initiative. Professor Shirley Wales, a lawyer and former Adjudicator for the survivors of the Indian Residential Schools, designed and taught the new course. She incorporated research from her PhD studies, including the Indigenous Legal Traditions course taught by an Elder.
We look forward to expanding the scope of the Aboriginal Moot and to incorporating more of the Indigenous Learning Outcomes into the Paralegal Degree curriculum to help Humber meet all of our goals under the Indigenous Education Protocol.