From left to right: Windsor Law Dean Christopher Waters, Professor Valarie Waboose, Research Assistant Lyann Ordenes, Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator Michelle Nahdee, Research Assistant Meghan Chant, Professor Beverly Jacobs, and Chief Miskokomon (Walpole Island First Nation)
On Friday, November 1st, 2019 Windsor Law launched the Indigenous Legal Orders Institute with a film screening, guest lecture, and reception.
The institute aims to promote and assist Indigenous peoples with the revitalization and dissemination of their respective Indigenous legal orders through relationship building, collaboration, and re-development using Indigenous and other creative research methods.
The institute is directed by professor Valarie Waboose; team members include professors Beverly Jacobs and Sylvia McAdam, Indigenous legal studies co-ordinator Michelle Nahdee, and student research assistants Meghan Chant and Lyann Ordenes. The institute’s logo, designed by Mohawk artist Patrick Sandy, is representative of the medicine wheel, the Two Row Wampum, Turtle Island, and the water.
"The Indigenous Legal Orders Institute began as a long-term goal of the Indigenous faculty at Windsor Law. November 1, 2019 marks the realisation of this vision," says institute director and law professor Valarie Waboose. "When the TRC of Canada released its Final Report in 2015 the law school formed a TRC Steering Committee to implement the Calls to Action that were directed at law schools and the legal profession. The Institute will broaden its focus and begin building relationships with First Nation communities in the surrounding area by assisting them, upon request, to research and re-develop the laws that existed in their respective communities before colonization. By supporting the growth of First Nations we see this as a small step towards reconciling relationships and movement forward."
“Windsor Law has strived to respond meaningfully to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in recent years,” says Dean Christopher Waters. “Among other things, we have placed Indigenous Legal Orders at the heart of what we do in our first-year program and we have instituted an elder-in-residence program. Under the leadership of Dr. Waboose, the ILOI will take our programming to the next level. It will showcase the incredible research and teaching going on in the Faculty, the University and in our partner First Nations.”
The launch event began in the Ron W. Ianni Faculty of Law Building’s Moot Court with a 9 a.m. film screening of Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, Tasha Hubbard’s soon-to-be-released film about Colten Bushie and his family’s pursuit of justice. A guest lecture featuring Elanore Sunchild, a Cree lawyer from Thunderchild First Nation, and Jade Tootoosis, cousin of the late Colten Boushie, directly followed the screening.
The afternoon concluded with a reception at 1 p.m. in the law building’s upper commons area.