It has been a few weeks since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released the executive summary of its report, following on years of gathering information about Canada’s legacy from Indian Residential Schools. The process of implementing the various calls to action will take many years, and will involve participation from most segments of Canadian society.
Law is, of course, deeply implicated in this history. Law schools will have an important role to play in the long-term processes of reconciliation. That is clear in Recommendation #28:
We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
In a short article reflecting on the implications of this recommendation for Canadian law schools, Gillian Calder and I said:
And on recommendation 28, we hope law schools across the country will take up the challenge to talk to each other. What educations models have been employed at universities to address the legacies of genocide, and what partnerships have been put in place to engage creatively and rigorously on those questions? What strategies, curricular innovations, and programs have already been put in place to take up the questions of indigenous laws in our multi-juridical country? What have our colleagues tried in their classrooms? What innovative pedagogies have they developed to ensure that the critical questions of colonialism are woven into all courses? http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/5620/TRC-offers-a-window-of-opportunity-for-legal-education.html
And then we got a note from Elin Sigurdson, reflecting on the work being done by the hashtag #CharlestonSyllabus in the US, to help people generate lists of readings or resources for moving forward some US conversations on histories of race and hate. What about, she asked, TRC Recommendation #28, and the possibility of the hashtag #ReconciliationSyllabus. Could we imagine that as one avenue for moving us forward with the important conversations about legal education and reconciliation? Great idea!
We invite our colleagues to start sharing idea, thoughts, texts, comments, etc using the twitter hashtag#ReconciliationSyllabus. Next step? To figure out a webplatform to host the results…