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Do you identify yourself as an Aboriginal person? Do you help people who do?
This section has information and publications about the issues that are important to Aboriginal people. It also has information about the help that Legal Aid and other groups can give.
The Legal Services Society is committed to increasing awareness of unique Aboriginal legal rights and supporting the strengths of Aboriginal cultures and communities.
Important information regarding the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement: If you attended the Mistassini Hostels in northern Québec, you have until September 2, 2013 to submit an application to the Independent Assessment Process. Find out more here.
If you attended other Indian residential schools, the deadline to apply to the Independent Assessment Process has passed. If you experienced sexual abuse or serious physical abuse at an Indian residential school and you've not yet talked to a lawyer, call a lawyer on the settlement agreement list to find out what your options are. Or call the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. The society can also provide you with information and emotional support.
For more information, click the Indian Residential Schools Settlement button below.
Click the images below for more information on this and other issues.
Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement deadline: Mistassini Hostels
If you attended the Mistassini Hostels in northern Québec, the deadline to apply for compensation under the Independent Assessment Process has been extended to September 2, 2013.
Update — Independent Assessment Process deadline: September 2012
The deadline for Independent Assessment Process (IAP) applications has passed.
If you experienced sexual abuse or serious physical abuse at an Indian residential school and you have not yet contacted a lawyer, call a lawyer on the settlement agreement list to find out what your options are. Or call the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. The society can also provide information and emotional support.
For more information, click the Indian Residential Schools Settlement button below, and see the updated government fact sheet.
Update — Common Experience Payment (CEP) deadline
The deadline for the Common Experience Payment (CEP) has passed.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada —BC Reconciliation Week — September 2013
TRC BC is holding a national event from September 18 – 21. The event will include statement gathering, traditional ceremonies, survivor gatherings, and more. See trc.ca and reconciliationcanada.ca for more information.
Aboriginal and Métis events in BC — Summer 2013
Check out the Aboriginal and Métis events that are happening in BC this summer!
Northeast Aboriginal Gatherings — Summer 2013
There are a number of Aboriginal gatherings taking place this summer in northeastern BC. Check out this list to see what's happening in your area!
Reconciliation Canada — Various events, June – September 2013
Reconciliation Canada is hosting a variety of events, including dialogue circles, an all nations canoe gathering, a reconciliation walk, and a cultural event in Vancouver, where BC Place will be transformed into a ceremonial house. See their flyer for more information.
Gladue report writing
Are you interested in learning how to write Gladue reports? The Justice Institute of BC provides training, and their next course starts January 7, 2014.
For more information, see the course description. Or contact:
Coordinator, Centre for Aboriginal Programs & Services
Phone: 604-528-5608 (Greater Vancouver)
First Nations Court opens in Duncan, duty counsel available
Duncan has opened its own First Nations Court. Duty counsel will be available to Aboriginal people with criminal matters at the monthly sittings. The duty counsel will provide free legal advice, along with other services such as referrals to legal counsel (and other legal help) and Gladue reports.
First Nations Court open in Kamloops, duty counsel available
Kamloops now has its own First Nations Court, which opened in March 2013. The court sits once a month and is available to all Aboriginal people. Duty counsel is available. Find out more from the Cknúcwentn First Nations Court flyer.
You can find out more about how First Nations Court works and the other First Nations Courts in New Westminster and Duncan on the First Nations Court page.
Legal Aid family advice clinic — Williams Lake area
LSS is offering free family advice clinics for Aboriginal people and families in the Williams Lake area. The clinics offer experienced legal advice and help on family, child protection, custody and access, and other issues. Attend by appointment or drop-in.
See our flyer for dates, times, and locations.
Health, Crime, and Doing Time — Ministry of Health report
The Ministry of Health's report, Health, Crime, and Doing Time: Potential Impacts of the Safe Streets and Communities Act on the Health and Well-being of Aboriginal People in BC, explores the potential impact of the Act on Aboriginal people in BC. Includes a discussion on the relationship between poor health and involvement in crime and the rates of incarceration of Aboriginal people.
The Provincial Health Officer's presentation summarizes the report.
Aboriginal people in the justice system — Toronto Star article
Unequal justice: Aboriginal and black inmates disproportionately fill Ontario jails — This article discusses the over-representation of Aboriginal people in youth and adult jails.
Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Justice Newsletter
Justice newsletter — Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Justice administers and delivers justice programs and services for Aboriginal adults in the Secwépemc territory.
Cross-border issues (Jay Treaty)
The Jay Treaty is an agreement that allows Native Americans born in Canada to travel freely across the United States/Canadian border.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder & Justice
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder & Justice — A website where justice system professionals and others can learn about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and how it affects clients. Includes information on strategies for effective intervention.
New free legal clinic in Victoria
Matrimonial property rights
CBC radio's The Current addresses the interim federal law that came into effect last fall concerning matrimonial property rights for Aboriginal women. Line Paré of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and Aboriginal lawyers Pamela Palmater and Jean Teillet are the guests. Listen to the episode.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
Aboriginal rights — New resource for lawyers
Preparing an Aboriginal Rights Case — An Overview for Defence Counsel is a booklet for lawyers that explains Aboriginal rights and what's involved in Aboriginal rights cases.
LSS is continuing a pilot project to fund Gladue reports for legal aid clients. Read more.