The Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba (UM Law) has been working to meaningfully implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action #28, with the hiring of a new Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator, Indigenization of the Juris Doctor curriculum, implementation of new courses, and introducing clinical opportunities for law students. This page details ways in which UM Law's curriculum is educating law students, faculty and staff about Indigenous peoples, and how it is making the Faculty more welcoming to Indigenous applicants, students, faculty, and visitors.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 28
We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
UM Law’s Faculty Council is committed to implementing CTA 28 and has taken the following action to do so:
In 2021, the Dean’s Office formed a Truth and Reconciliation Action Team consisting of Indigenous members of the practicing bar, faculty, and students, and a newly hired Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator with whom to consult and advise on implementation of CTA 28. The Faculty also hired two new Indigenous Faculty members with an objective of hiring more academics with backgrounds and research agendas focused in this area of law. An endowed chair in Indigenous law and economic reconciliation is also being planned.
UM Law hired an Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator in 2021, who has conducted a curriculum review to ensure Indigenization of all courses offered in the Juris Doctor program.
The Faculty succeeded in passing through Senate, a course on Indigenous Methodologies and Perspectives, which will become mandatory for all second-year law students in 2023.
Starting in the fall of 2023, UM Law added the Cochrane Saxburg Indigenous Law Clinic to its roster of six experiential learning opportunities. Facilitated by the law firm of Cochrane Saxburg, law students will be helping members of the public to apply for pardons and for Indigenous Status, in addition to mentoring Indigenous secondary school students in the Seven Oaks School Division (Law Makers Program).
Land-based learning will also become a part of the J.D. curriculum for all law students.
In addition to newly Indigenized regular courses, UM Law offers J.D. students a variety of courses specifically on Aboriginal Law and Policy, and Indigenous Legal Orders, designed to inform and prepare students to understand and work with the legal issues involving Indigenous communities.
- Aboriginal Peoples and the Law
- Aboriginal Law - Criminal Justice and Family Law
- Indigenous Economic Development and the Law
- Indigenous Methodologies and Perspectives
- 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.
- Oral History, Indigenous Traditions and the Law
UM Law believes that Indigenous people should have individual acknowledgement in the admissions process and as such maintains a Canadian Indigenous Applicant Category. This process is designed to facilitate access to legal education and the profession for Indigenous people in Canada.
MILSA - Manitoba Indigenous Law Students Association
Career Development - Creating connections for Indigenous articling students
Pro Bono Students Canada
Marc Kruse is our Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator.
Wendy Whitecloud, who served for many years as the Faculty's Indigenous Support Coordinator, has returned this fall as one of two Elders-in-Residence to work with law students alongside The Hon. Murray Sinclair.
Horizon is a Manitoba Map of supports and resources for Indigenous students navigating post-secondary education.
Visit UM Indigenous for current news stories and programming for and about the Indigenous campus community.
With over $450,000 annually in allocations, UM Law has a comprehensive needs-based financial aid and bursary program. The Faculty awards one-third of the tuition surcharge collected back to students in the form of needs-based bursaries. Since the inception of the 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 Bursary Program are expected to apply for government student loans.
We also offer Entrance Awards & Scholarships, some of which are specifically for Indigenous 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 UM Law becomes a Pitblado Scholar. These students are presented with a $5,000 scholarship at a formal reception in the fall. The scholarship is applied directly to tuition.
Each year, Robson Hall welcomes First Year Law students with a week full of welcome and orientation activities including a tour of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Please see the Orientation Week Schedule for more details.
Members of our faculty actively engage in research in the area of Indigenous Legal Research. Work done in the past 20 years includes:
- Current Research & Dissemination
- Implementing Gladue in Manitoba
- Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Justice System
- Working with Elders in Educational Institutions
- Right to Water
- Past Research
- Aboriginal Law Collection at the E.K. Williams Library
Visit our Indigenous Legal Research page for detailed information on the above academic work.