Category Archives: Indigineous Law

“When the Law is Broken:” Professor Val Napoleon Talks of the University of Victoria’s Proposed Dual Indigenous Law Program


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After over a decade of planning and discussions, the University of Victoria’s (UVic’s) proposed joint Common Law and Indigenous Law degree program (the JID) is nearing fruition. Once approved by both the federal and provincial governments, Canada will see its first ever dual Indigenous law program, starting next Fall of 2017.

LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian sat down with one of its architects, UVic Director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit and Research Chair, Val Napoleon. We discussed the details of the proposed program, its parallels to the McGill transsystemic model, as well as issues of Indigenous essentialization and reconciliation in creating such a program.

Thank you to Professor Napoleon for her time and patience in agreeing to the interview. Thank yous are also due to Professor Napoleon, as well as Professors Friedland, Anker, and Kong, for having taught first-year students to be brave, to engage with what we didn’t know, and to question what we thought we already knew about Indigenous laws this past Integration Week.

Asé tsi Tewa:ton,“We Will Renew Ourselves:” The Mohawk Approach to Environmental and Cultural Restoration with Dr. Taiaiake Alfred

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The most common approach to compensating Indigenous peoples for harms caused to their peoples, their lands, and their culture has been to pay them a lump sum of money and call it a day. Taiaiake Alfred, a Professor of Indigenous Governance and Political Science from Kahnawá:ke, however, gave a talk at McGill about an alternative approach to addressing these harms that tends to Indigenous peoples’ actual needs. That is, through the restoration of their land based practices. This program was launched in 2014, in the community of Akwesasne in the US, where master knowledge-holders have since been teaching apprentices how to hunt, trap, and heal through medicinal plants, among other things. 

This talk took place in September 2016 as part of McGill’s 6th Annual Indigenous Awareness Week. The recording is brought to you by LegaLEase’s Emma Noradounkian and Alice Mirlesse.


Episode December 2015 – Rising

Welcome to LegalEase with your hosts Lillian Boctor and Alice Mirlesse for this December 2015 edition of Legalease. LegalEase is a monthly show put together by a collective of law students and recently graduated law students at McGill that explores the law and its institutions with a critical lens and at the same time makes the jargon of the law more accessible.


We start the show with an interview from Paris with Daniel T’seleie, a Dene and participant in the “It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm” and “Indigenous Rising” Delegations to the COP21 in Paris, which took place from November 30 – December 12, 2015;

we hear the powerful words of Kandi Mosset, the Indigenous Environemental Network’s Native Energy and Climate Campaign Organizer and member of the “It Takes Roots” and “Indigenous Rising” Delegations at the COP21 in Paris, speaking at a press conference by Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus and Women Leading Solutions on Frontlines of Climate Change on December 8, 2015;


we hear from Alexis, a member and community leader of the WeCopwatch movement based in the Ferguson, Missouri neighborhood where police killed Mike Brown; and Tariq Ramadan, who teaches Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, was speaking at the McGill Faculty of Law last month and we hear an excerpt of his talk entitled, “Accommodation and Securitization, Dilemmas of Muslim Citizenship in Liberal Democracies.”