University of Victoria launches first of its kind Indigenous law program


The University of Victoria has launched a new Indigenous law degree.

Graduates of the program, a first in Canada, will receive two professional degrees, one in Canadian common law, and one in Indigenous legal orders.

“There’s lots of people that didn’t believe that there is any such thing as Indigenous law, but when you are in the communities you understand that people are aspiring to live in a peaceful way that has order attached to that,” said John Borrows, professor of law at the university.

Students will learn laws from Anishinaabe, Gitxsan, and Cree.

Carolyn Belleau is one of 26 students in the new program.

She hopes the resurgence of Indigenous law will help with reconciliation.

“Being a Secwepemc woman going forward with this I think it will help improve relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous and I think that is something really special,” she said.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action number 50 called on the federal and provincial governments to fund Indigenous law institutes.

The province has budgeted $2.5 million over two years to support the program.

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