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Robson Hall well-represented at National Aboriginal Moot

Non-adversarial negotiation an opportunity for law students to apply coursework to real situations

March 29, 2018 — 

There are no winners or losers at the annual Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot, but the students who represented Robson Hall can report that they learned a lot from the experience.

First held in 1994 at the University of Toronto, the Kawaskimhon (which roughly translates from Cree to “speaking with knowledge”) is a consensus-based, non-adversarial moot that incorporates Indigenous legal traditions with federal, provincial and international law. Mooters participate in roundtable negotiations on a particular topic in Indigenous law, representing their assigned parties. Please see the Kawaskimhon 2018 website for more information about the moot.

Jeremy McKay and Denby McLean worked with coach Wendy Whitecloud to prepare for this year’s 24th annual Kawaskimhon. About 19 law schools across Canada took part with each team being assigned a role to play in the annual topic. This year’s moot problem was regarding the status, protection and control of Indigenous archeological artefacts of significance to the culture and identity of the Mohawk people of Kanehsata:ke. Parties involved in the problem include the Mohawk Nation, the Municipality of Oka, the province of Quebec, and the Government of Canada. Robson Hall’s McKay and McLean took the role of the Parc national d’Oka.

“The Moot was an opportunity for me to apply my coursework in Aboriginal Law to a new and exciting fact pattern,” said McKay. “I also enjoyed connecting with other students across Canada who are interested in Aboriginal Law.”

Moot facilitators included Jessica Labranche, (BCL/LLB’12), a Crane Clan Anishinaabe Kwe and citizen of Michipicoten First Nation and the Principal at Black Feather Law, a Toronto based law firm; Dr. Kahente Horn-Miller (Kahente means “she walks ahead”) (Kanien:keha’ka/Mohawk), Assistant Professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education at Carleton University; Catherine Fagan, (BCL/LLB’06), a member of the Southern Inuit community of NunatuKavut in Labrador and a partner at Arbutus Law Group LLP; and Nicholas Dodd, (BCL/LLB’09), a lawyer at Dionne Schulze who has worked on cases involving the possession of reserve lands, federal and provincial environmental assessments, Aboriginal rights, the Indian Act tax exemption as well as many other areas of the Indian Act, administrative law and general private law. 

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