Indigenous Initiatives

A triptych by Dakota/Ojibwa artist Linus Woods can be found hanging in the Moot Court Room

Resolution: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #28

The Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba is committed to working collectively to meaningfully implement Call to Action #28, with particular attention to its implications for our curriculum and the learning environment at Robson Hall. Read more…

Aboriginal Law

Robson Hall is determined to be a welcoming place for Aboriginal law students, and a place where all our students can enhance their awareness of the issues facing Aboriginal communities.  Our students will be able to use their legal education to work with their communities for change.

Curriculum Review Process

The Academic Innovation Committee has proposed that knowledge of Indigenous Legal Traditions be a mandatory competency of the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.

Course Descriptions:

Robson Hall offers our J.D. students a concentration on Aboriginal Law and Policy if students complete a minimum of 14 credit hours in this area.

To prepare students to deal with the variety of legal issues facing Aboriginal communities that they may encounter after graduation, several courses have a specific focus on Aboriginal people and Canadian law:

In addition, many of our mandatory courses include Aboriginal perspectives or content on Aboriginal people’s legal issues.

Aboriginal Admissions Category

We believe that Aboriginal people represent unique groups in Canada, including Métis, Indian, and Inuit heritage, and are worthy of individual acknowledgement in the admissions process. Our process is designed to facilitate access to legal education and the profession for Aboriginal people. Learn more

Extracurricular Opportunities:

MALSA – Manitoba Aboriginal Law Students Association
Career Development – Creating connections for Aboriginal articling students
Pro Bono Students Canada


Academic Support/Aboriginal Student Advisor

This program provides tutoring to First Year Individual Consideration, Aboriginal, and Half-Time students and to students whose mid-term exam results suggest that they could benefit from the program.  Students who feel that they require individual academic support should contact Wendy Whitecloud, the Director of the Academic Support Program.

Financial Support

With over $450,000 annually in allocations, Robson Hall has a comprehensive needs-based financial aid and bursary program.  The Faculty of Law awards one-third of the tuition surcharge collected back to students in the form of needs-based bursaries.  Since the inception of Robson Hall Bursary in 2005, the Faculty of Law has awarded over $1,700,000.  The allocations are based on financial need and are distributed in the fall. This helps to ensure that all eligible students are supported according to their needs.  Students applying for the RH Bursary Program are expected to apply for government student loans.

We also offer Entrance Awards & Scholarships, some of which are specifically for Aboriginal students.

We demonstrate our commitment to academic excellence by rewarding top students. Each student on the Faculty of Law Dean’s Honour List at the end of first and/or second year who continue their legal studies in the next academic year at Robson Hall become a Pitblado Scholar.  Students are presented with a $5,000 scholarship at a formal reception in the fall.  The scholarship is applied directly to tuition.

Orientation Week Activities

These seven paintings by Anishinaabe artist Jackie Traverse depicting the Seven Teachings were given to the Faculty and can be viewed in the Common Room.

Research & Dissemination


Many of our faculty members actively engage in research in the area of Aboriginal law and policy.  The research in this area undertaken at Robson Hall is varied and often includes engagement with Aboriginal communities and other faculties on campus.

The Gladue Project

Resources for implementing Supreme Court of Canada decisions on sentencing Aboriginal people

University of Manitoba law professor David Milward and former Robson Hall professor Debra Parkes worked with Robson Hall colleagues, students, and members of the Manitoba bench and bar to improve Manitoba’s implementation of the Gladue decision on Aboriginal sentencing. It is designed to address the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.

In March 2011, they organized the symposium Implementing Gladue: Law & Policy 20 Years After the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. (See brochure,video and media coverage.)

The Gladue Handbook intended as a resource for lawyers, judges and other justice system participants was launched in September 2012 in Winnipeg.

Related articles:


Aboriginal Law & Policy

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