Western Law student wins OBA essay competition

Shirelle Goodman JD’15 has won first place in the Ontario Bar Association’s Foundation Award essay competition.

The competition, open to law students across Ontario, addressed issues in Canadian aboriginal law (including indigenous legal traditions), and environmental and natural resources law. 

Goodman won a $1,000 prize for her essay "Over-Incarceration, the Residential School System and the Destruction of Indigenous Legal Traditions: Why Canadian Jurisprudence is not Going to Solve the 'Problem' of Over-Incarceration of Aboriginal People in Canada but a US-Style Tribal Court System Will". It was originally written for the Aboriginal Law class taught by Professor Michael Coyle, who supervised the essay. 

In the essay Goodman argues that overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian criminal justice system is itself not the issue.

“Rather, it is a symptom of the ongoing damage done by the horrific abuse, neglect and trauma of the residential school system on multiple generations of people," Goodman explained.