Indigenous Initiatives

“UAlberta Law has shown great promise in its response to the calls to action in the “Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” and I look forward to being a part of its legacy.”
Sarah Bidniak, '20 JD

Our Commitment To Truth And Reconciliation

The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people. Our Faculty reaffirms our commitment to the Principles of Reconciliation, understanding that for Canada to flourish, we must seek reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples locally, provincially and across Canada.

This section is intended to help communicate aspects of our response to the 94 calls to action outlined in the "Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada" (TRC), which included two of particular relevance to the Canadian legal profession and Canadian law schools. Our efforts are framed within the University of Alberta’s strategic plan, "For The Public Good," which prioritizes the development, "in consultation and collaboration with internal and external community stakeholders, [of] a thoughtful, respectful, meaningful, and sustainable response to the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada."

As part of our response to the TRC, UAlberta Law has taken a number of steps to more fully integrate Aboriginal law and Indigenous legal theory and traditions into our curriculum. Our goal is to ensure that our law graduates enter the legal profession with an understanding of the application of the law to Indigenous Peoples and with the capacity to interact thoughtfully with Indigenous communities and cultures as lawyers. Innovative course offerings, such as our Gladue Seminar and Externship and the community-based Wahkohtowin Project, as well as updates to the Foundations to Law course and hiring of new faculty have helped us build on this foundation.

We are equally committed to raising awareness of opportunities for Indigenous students at our Faculty, and to supporting our current Indigenous students as they prepare for successful legal careers in the tradition of distinguished graduates Chief Wilton Littlechild and Justice Leonard Mandamin. This past year several of our current students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, made headlines with the reconciliation-focused social media campaign #ReconciliActionYEG, which won a Canadian Law Blog Award for change and advocacy, and further established UAlberta Law as a leader in this area.

There is much more to be done as we continue the collaborative, ongoing process of more fully integrating Aboriginal law, Indigenous legal theory and legal issues pertaining to Canada’s Indigenous peoples into the fabric of UAlberta Law. We invite you to join us on this important journey.

Dean of Law and
Wilbur Fee Bowker Professor of Law