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Indigenous law unit at UVic receives $1.2-million grant to enhance influence

Unit is looking to rebuild Indigenous law in Canadian, global legal systems
The Indigenous Law Research Unit will be able to expand its influence after receiving a $1.2 million grant from the Law Foundation of B.C. (Black Press Media file photo)

An Indigenous law centre hosted at the University of Victoria will have stable funding and be able to expand its services after receiving a $1.2-million grant.

The Indigenous Law Research Unit received the funding from the Law Foundation of British Columbia. The $1.2 million will give the research unit core funding for three years and help it enhance staffing and operations, along with exploring new relationships with community partners and legal groups.

“The foundation of our work is relationships, and we are focused on helping rebuild law to solve problems in a practical way,” said Val Napoleon, acting UVic dean of Law and ILRU founder, in a news release.

“With this core funding, we’re thrilled to be able to build on the foundation of many years of successful partnerships and legal research and to envision an exciting path forward for our collaborative work on rebuilding Indigenous laws throughout Canada.”

The funds will also go toward: new Indigenous law workshops and educational offerings that are in-person, in-community as well as online; articling positions for Indigenous law students; an immersive model of community-based Indigenous legal education and more.

The Indigenous Law Research Unit, launched in 2012, follows three core values: that Indigenous laws need to be taken seriously as laws; that more time and space is needed for Indigenous laws in the world; and that more respectful and symmetrical relationships across legal traditions are both possible and mutually beneficial for colonial Canadian and Indigenous legal traditions alike.

Going forward, the unit looks to implement Indigenous legal processes, structures and institutions at the forefront of legal work in B.C., Canada and across the globe and aims for Indigenous law to inform processes of disagreement, diplomacy, civility and shaping conversation within and between societies.

The Law Foundation of B.C.’s chair said they’re proud to support the research unit’s groundbreaking work with communities to ensure that legal systems are responsive to changes in society and technology.

“Their work requires patient, careful dedication that is measured in years, not months. It needs strong and lasting financial support to succeed, and we are thankful to be invited to support them in their mission,” said the foundation’s Lindsay LeBlanc.

READ: Camosun receives $1.2M gift for women’s trades program in Greater Victoria


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