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VOL. 76 PART 3 MAY 2018
of government and law in the Canadian constitution to the constitutions of
Anishinabek/Ojibway societies, both historically and in their contemporary
expressions on both sides of the U.S.–Canadian border. Not only will that
approach introduce students to Anishinabek structures of governance, but
it should also cast light on aspects of Canadian law that might otherwise
remain invisible because they are too familiar. In order to make room for
that comparative content, we have increased substantially the credit weight
for each course. That in turn will mean that the transsystemic equivalents
of contracts law and torts law will be moved into second year.
Although students will be introduced to a range of legal traditions during
their time in the program, we are convinced, given our location, that Coast
Salish legal traditions will require particular attention. To that end, there
will be a course in Coast Salish law and language in second year, which will
have the added benefit of exploring the way in which legal categories are
often encoded within or strongly shaped by linguistic features.
In their upper years, students will round out their programs with upperlevel
electives from the J.D. curriculum and with new J.I.D.-inspired electives.
In addition, there will be two distinctive elements in the upper-year
curriculum: two term-long field schools, in which students will learn about
and work with law in the community settings in which it is lived. This will
allow students, under close academic supervision, to learn from elders and
other legal experts, to participate in the institutions through which the work
of law is performed, to see the ways in which Indigenous principles are
adapted to new purposes and to give back to the community by working on
projects to rebuild Indigenous legal orders. We expect, for example, that one
of these field schools will occur among the complex of Gitksan, Nisga’a and
Tsimshian legal orders, allowing students to observe how Nisga’a law is pursued
under the provisions of the Nisga’a treaty, studying the legal processes
that occur through Gitksan ceremonies, considering the resources that exist
for dealing with overlapping claims, and learning many other things. There
might also be international field schools. We already send students to the
Waitangi Tribunal in New Zealand/Aotearoa from time to time.
We hope, then, that by the end of four years, students will have both our
first-rate J.D. degree and an unparalleled level of engagement with Indigenous
legal traditions, allowing them to operate effectively in that intercultural
RELATIONSHIP TO OUR EXISTING J.D. PROGRAM
It will be clear by now that this project is an ambitious one. Will it detract
from our existing program?