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…
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.
Robson Hall offers our J.D. students a variety of courses on Aboriginal Law and Policy designed to inform and prepare students to understand and work with the legal issues involving Indigenous communities including:
- Aboriginal Justice and Family Law
The course will cover legal issues related to Aboriginal peoples in both the criminal justice system and the family law systems.
- Aboriginal Peoples and Land Claims
The course will provide an overview of Canadian Land Claims and Treaty Land Entitlement policies.
- Aboriginal Peoples and the Law
A study of the laws relating to Aboriginal Peoples in North America from the colonial period to the present.
- Advocating for the Rights of Indigenous People in International Law
This course looks at how Indigenous peoples have engaged in international law as a site to gain protection of their rights and interests.
- Critical Conversations: Interdisciplinary Human Rights Studies (The Right to Water and Sanitation in First Nation Communities)
This course requires writing a research paper on Aboriginal and Indigenous law, environmental law, human rights law and/or advocacy strategies. Through readings, presentations and seminars, students consider the persistent problem of the lack of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation in First Nation communities in Canada and what do to about this problem.
- Current Legal Problems: Interdisciplinary Human Rights Studies (Truth and Reconciliation)
The University of Manitoba Centre for Human Rights Research organized a 2016-17 seminar series called Critical Conversations on Truth and Reconciliation. Seminar topics included Indian Residential Schools litigation, Indigenous concepts of reconciliation, decolonizing archives, visual and literary representations of the Indian residential school experience, understanding denial of mass atrocities, and harm and reparations.
- Kawaskimhon Moot
The Kawaskimhon Moot (speaking with knowledge) is a culturally sensitive national forum where questions regarding aboriginal legal issues are debated and negotiated by law students across Canada.
- Métis People & Canadian law
The goal of this course is to consider the distinctions in the rights and protections of Métis people in Canada, including the legal and regulatory distinctions between Métis and First Nations.
In addition, many of our mandatory courses include Aboriginal perspectives or content on Aboriginal people’s legal issues.
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…
MILSA – Manitoba Indigenous 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.
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.
- E. J. McMurray Trust Entrance Scholarship
- Dickson Graduate Fellowship (Aboriginal, constitutional, or human rights)
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.
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.
- The Gladue Project: Making a Difference in the Criminal Justice System by Dr. David Milward, Robson Hall Alumni Report, September 2012
- Gladue: Beyond Myth and Toward Implementation in Manitoba by David Milward and Debra Parkes, Manitoba Law Journal 35, 84-110, 2011
- Ipeelee and the Pursuit of Proportionality in a World of Mandatory Minimum Sentences by Debra Parkes, For the Defence, Vol. 33, No. 3, 2012
- The Silence of Solitary Confinement, profile of Prof. Debra Parkes and her research on misuse of solitary confinement and the Gladue Project, Research Life, University of Manitoba, Fall 2012