Amanda Vick, first-year student in the UVic Indigenous Law program greets her professor, Val Napoleon. (UVic Photo Service)

Federal government commits $9.1 million toward UVic Indigenous Law building

Contribution supports Canada’s first Canada’s first Indigenous Law program

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced that the University of Victoria (UVic) will receive $9.1 million for the construction of the national centre for Indigenous law from the federal government. This contribution is meant to support the revitalization of Indigenous legal systems and Canada’s first Canada’s first joint degree program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders.

“It’s so exciting,” said Bennett during the announcement Tuesday morning. “It’s the beginning of really celebrating the importance of Indigenous law and legal orders for Canada.”

Bennett’s announcement, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, took place on the UVic campus. Several professors from the program joined her on stage.

Val Napoleon, Director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit and of the Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders program and Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance said this is a time of thankfulness and reflection.

READ ALSO: UVic launches historic Indigenous law program

“Minister Bennett has been our greatest champion, and the recent federal contribution of $9.1 million to our national centre for Indigenous law is the exciting result. This commitment will enable us to build a strong, stable foundation from which to study, teach and learn Indigenous law as part of the great legal traditions of the world,” said Napoleon.

Amanda Vick, whose traditional Gitxsan name is Siimadam, also spoke about the new building. She called it a “home away from home” for her and her peers.

“Today, like everyday, is another great day to be Indigenous,” she said. “Today also marks the joint efforts of the university, the province and the federal governments to honour and stand up for Indigenous law in this country.”

Vick said she cried when she got her acceptance letter.

“There are no English words to describe how it feels to be a part of [the program],” said Vick, who completed her undergraduate degree in liberal studies.

She sees this program is a step towards reconciliation, decolonizing the institution and not having to justify Indigenous law to others.

READ ALSO: Saanich councillor joins stance against UVic Starbucks

She recalls looking back at her notes from this past year, her first in the program, and seeing a comment she’d written in the margin: “I still can’t believe I’m here.”

Vick is honoured to be in the first cohort to graduate from the Indigenous Law program and the program itself is the first in the world. She wants people to know that the students work hard – learning both Indigenous law and Canadian Common Law.

Students come from all over and are not all Indigenous. Vick said this is important because the work needs to be taken on by everyone.

“It shouldn’t only be on the shoulders of Indigenous students,” she said.

The new Indigenous Law building is currently unnamed and is in the process of being designed. It will be located next to the current law building, the Fraser building, where the current cohort of 26 students take their courses alongside all the other law students.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

UVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read