Law Society establishes Indigenous Advisory Group
The Law Society has partnered with First Nation, Inuit and Métis community representatives to establish an Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG), consisting of Indigenous legal professionals and Elders.
“We look forward to working in partnership with this dedicated and well-informed group – and we will benefit greatly from their knowledge and advice,” said Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas.
It will help guide the Law Society and the legal community towards a better understanding of how to address unique issues faced by Indigenous peoples in Ontario, and promote responses to and implementation of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report and the First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries report by The Honourable Frank Iacobucci.
“As we continue to work toward reconciliation, the IAG will play a critical role in helping us to identify priorities and make recommendations on the provision of legal services by and for Indigenous peoples in Ontario – and enhancing the cultural competence of our members,” Treasurer Schabas continued.
The IAG will also promote stronger relationships between Indigenous peoples and legal communities and institutions in a way that respects Indigenous values, beliefs, and legal systems.
An Elders Council has been established within the IAG to provide further guidance. The Elders Council includes Elder Myeengun Henry, Elder Julia Putulik, Métis Senator Contance Simmonds, and Elder Wanda Whitebird. These Elders are permanent members of the group, and are responsible for appointing new IAG members over time.
Cassandra Baars, Margaret Froh, IAG Interim Chair Kathleen Lickers, Audrey Huntley, Roger Jones, Candice Metallic, and Sheila Warner are currently members of the IAG. They will support the transition into a final IAG, which will be reflective of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities throughout the province.
“The IAG looks forward to working with the Law Society to advance and encourage reconciliation of Indigenous peoples and legal systems with the Canadian legal system – its Constitution, laws, legal framework and jurisprudence,” said IAG Interim Chair Kathleen Lickers. “There is much to do and we need each other to truly affect change.”