Last week marked the wrap-up of the Kawaskimhon Moot, and with it, the end of Aboriginal Awareness Week at the law school. From February 25 to March 6, 2011, a series of events brought together students, scholars and legal practitioners to raise awareness and engage in dialogue around legal issues that impact Canada's Aboriginal communities.
To kick things off, over 200 students, faculty and staff came out to the Indigenous Law Students Association's annual BBQ on February 25, 2011. This momentum carried into the following week with the Faculty hosting a week-long Speaker Series.
The theme of this year's Speaker Series was the BC Treaty Process. The Series featured speakers such as Chief Kim Baird of the Tsawwassen First Nation and British Columbia Treaty Commissioner Robert Phillips, who presented a variety of perspectives on the Treaty Process. From the panelists, students were able to gain a better understanding of the impact of the Treaty Process Aboriginal communities.
This focus on community impacts carried throughout the Week and was a central part in its capstone event: the Kawaskimhon Moot - Canada's only national Aboriginal moot. This year's topic was the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Sixteen teams of students from fourteen law schools across Canada engaged in two days of advocacy exercises. On the first day, students made hypothetical submissions to two panels: one law firm panel, and one inquiry panel. On the second day, the students worked towards developing terms of reference for a hypothetical inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
The students' work will undoubtedly help to raise further awareness about these critical issues.