Category Archives: Aboriginal

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Apologies are only the start – a reflection on the release of the report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

As we celebrate National Aboriginal Day, LAO remains committed to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We are proud to repost this piece about the TRC and the work that was still ahead when it was written in 2015, and that still remains ahead even today.

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Precedent magazine and LAO lawyer speak out on overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in prisons

An insightful story, How Aboriginal lawyers are fixing the mess Canada made, recently ran in Precedent magazine. It featured the moving perspective of LAO’s Aboriginal Justice Strategy Policy Counsel Fallon Melander, along with the views of two other Aboriginal lawyers. Fallon’s motivation in going to law school, she says in this story, was to work for her people. She and the other […]

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Gladue Reports: not just a sentencing report

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Gladue is a significant recognition of the position of Aboriginal offenders in the Canadian criminal justice system. It is well known to those working within the criminal justice system that Aboriginals are overrepresented. Chad Kicknosway is Ojibway and a graduate of law. He is currently a Gladue caseworker with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and has been authoring Gladue reports for the past four years.

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Making prison needle exchange programs work in Canada – Part 3

This is the third of four unique perspectives on prison needle and syringe programs. It explains why such programs are essential, what is happening in Canadian and international prisons and how such a program can work. All were part of a panel discussion in support of prisoners’ rights and justice at Toronto’s Ryerson University. Sandra Ka Hon Chu is the Co-Director of Research and Advocacy at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. She works on HIV-related human rights issues concerning prisons, harm reduction, sex work, women, and immigration.

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Making prison needle exchange programs work in Canada – Part 2

This is the second of four unique perspectives on prison needle and syringe programs. It explains why such programs are essential, what is happening in Canadian and international prisons and how such a program can work. All were part of a Canadian Harm Reduction Network panel discussion in support of prisoners’ rights and justice at Toronto’s Ryerson University.Dr. Ruth Elmwood Martin is a clinical professor in the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health, an associate faculty member in its Department of Family Practice, and member of its lead research faculty for its family medicine residency program and inaugural Director of its Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education.

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Making prison needle exchange programs work in Canada – Part 1

This is the first of four unique perspectives on prison needle and syringe programs. It explains why such programs are essential, what is happening in Canadian and international prisons and how such a program can work. All were part of a Canadian Harm Reduction Network panel discussion in support of prisoners’ rights and justice at Toronto’s Ryerson University. Julie Thomas is the Program Manager/Executive Director of Healing our Nations, an organization that teaches and supports 31 First Nations communities in the Atlantic region plus northern Labrador in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and related issues.

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Baamsedaa: Let’s Walk Together

By Jeff Plain This piece originally appeared on our Aboriginal Justice Strategy policy page.  As an indigenous Aboriginal person myself, I understand that feelings of apprehension and hopelessness can arise in seeking and accessing justice. These feelings can stem from distrust in justice systems —whether criminal, family, civil or administrative. Meeting an important need We […]

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National Aboriginal Languages Day

“Without the language, we are warm bodies without a spirit…” Mary Lou Fox, Ojibwe elder Language is a vital tool for Aboriginal people as it plays and important role in the transmission of values, spiritual and traditional beliefs, and the entire histories of a people from generation to generation. At one point there were over 300 […]

Brant County Crown Attorney Robert Kindon, Justice Kevin Sherwood, Six Nations community elder Jan Longboat and Justice Gethin Edward, holding a wampum belt, symbolizing the desire to care for all who enter the Brantford Aboriginal peoples court.

Brantford’s new Indigenous Persons Court: a community effort that meets a local challenge

Pictured above left to right:  Brant County Crown Attorney Robert Kindon, Justice Kevin Sherwood, Six Nations community elder Jan Longboat and Justice Gethin Edward, holding a wampum belt, symbolizing the desire to care for all who enter the Brantford Indigenous Persons Court.  By Robert Blake When the possibility of opening an Indigenous Persons Court* in […]