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A Collective Analysis of Justice

Tansi Nîtôtemtik/Negha Dagondih,

Calls to Action #25 - 42 all speak of various ways of advocating, ensuring, and promoting justice for Indigenous peoples. These include holding the RCMP responsible for investigating the government of Canada regarding matters of self-interest in litigation, providing training for lawyers on the history of Indian residential schools, treaties, Aboriginal rights, and Indigenous laws, and offering alternatives to imprisonment through preventative programming and Criminal Code amendments.[1] The federal, provincial, and territorial governments across Canada have all been tasked to commit to initiatives of justice, and to adhere to affirmations of Aboriginal and Treaty rights along with the implementation of Aboriginal justice systems and fulfillment of the promises made in the Constitution Act 1982 and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).[2]

When people hear the word justice, perhaps the word equity comes into mind, and that same connection had been made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through Call to Action #50, which speaks of “equity for Aboriginal people in the legal system”[3], stating that:

“In keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations, to fund the establishment of Indigenous law institutes for the development, use, and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice in accordance with the unique cultures of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.”[4]

Above, you might have noticed that equity is called for in the legal system, not the justice system. This could be because of deeply rooted feelings of injustice. To call the legal system a justice system that perpetuates injustices is an oxymoron, and we are rightly critical of this supposition.

Over the next few weeks, we ask you dear reader to consider what justice is, what it means, what must be changed and implemented across all levels of government, and how we can actively engage and participate in ways that contribute to equitable outcomes and real justice for Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada. Perhaps dear reader, one of the things we can do is come together and engage in discourse, and respectful knowledge sharing.

At the bottom of each post, you can enter comments on posts by either logging in through Facebook, Google, or email. We encourage feedback, questions, and the chance to learn from one another through comments on our posts, and what you have to say is valuable, crucial, and important to our collective, constant march towards justice Indigenous advocacy.

As we undertake to tackle the theme of justice in the coming weeks, let us know, in the comments below, if there are any subjects in particular you would like us to address. Chat with you in the comments!

Until next time,

Team ReconciliAction YEG

[1] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, “Calls to Action”, (2015) at 3-4, online (pdf): Government of B.C. <>

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid at 5-6.

[4] Ibid.

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