Western Law set to celebrate Indigenous Awareness Week

Western University’s third annual Indigenous Awareness Week takes place March 20-24, and the Faculty of Law will be host to a number of special events celebrating and bringing awareness to local Indigenous culture and legal scholarship.

Led by Western’s Indigenous Services, the week-long event seeks to enhance the presence and promote the achievements of Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are contrbuting  academically and to the larger London community. All events are free and open to all.

The week begins with on Monday, March 20 with a Sunrise Ceremony at from 7:00am to 8:00am behind Weldon Library.  All are invited to greet the morning sun over a sacred fire and help set the tone culturally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually for the week. A community breakfast will follow in the Indigenous Services Learning Resource Centre, Western Student Services Building, Rm. 2100.

Highlights of the week at Western Law include a panel discussion on the legal and cultural issues arising from the case Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v Enbridge pipelines et al - which was argued before the Supreme Court of Canada in November. Panelists include Chief Leslee White-Eye, former Chief Joe Miskokomon and is moderated by Prof. Michael Coyle.

Following the panel, the faculty hosts an Extractive and Indigenous affairs moot court final. Students will present arguments in the case of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v Enbridge Pipelines et al. followed by a reception in the Faculty Common Lounge for all students, panelists, judges, and audience members. Both these events take place on Tuesday, March 21.

On Wednesday, March 22, at 12:30, Western Law Reads will hold its second book club discussion of Canada’s Indigenous Constitution, by John Borrows. Relevant excerpts and discussion questions can be found on the Western Law Reads OWL site, and lunch will be provided in the Faculty Common Lounge.

To cap off the week, Western Law is co-hosting an Anishinaabe Law Camp from March 23 to 26 to introduce students to Indigenous legal traditions. The camp, hosted by the Chippewas of the Thames near London and facilitated by Professor Borrows, will include oral traditions, Indigenous values and visions of law.

“This is unique opportunity to gain experience with elders and Indigenous leaders and scholars, and Western Law faculty,” says co-organizer Prof. Michael Coyle.  

Indigenous Awareness Week closes on Saturday, March 25 with the 11th annual First Nations Students Association Pow Wow in the Mustang Lounge. The Pow Wow will serve as a cultural exclamation point to what will be an exciting celebration of Indigenous presence at Western.

Please visit the Indigenous Awareness Week event website at http://indigenous.uwo.ca/universitywide/indigenousweek/index.html for a comprehensive list of programming.