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ILSA Speaker Series 2024 - Day 3: Judge Gerald Morin Presented with Indigenous Justice Award

tansi ninôtemik,

The Indigenous Law Students’ Association’s 2024 Speaker Series continues!

On Wednesday March 6th, the Indigenous Law Students’ Association presented Judge Gerald Morin with the 2024 Indigenous Justice Award. The Indigenous Justice Award recognizes outstanding contributions made by individuals towards Indigenous justice initiatives. 

Judge Morin’s outstanding contributions include establishing the first Cree speaking Court in Saskatchewan. He established this court in response to the most common complaint he heard about courtroom processes: that Indigenous people could not understand what was happening in court.

In establishing a Cree speaking Court, Judge Morin had to ensure that all of the court workers could speak Cree. This involved many conceptual challenges, including how to explain concepts like bail and parole in Cree. There is no direct translation for these terms, but people had to be able to effectively explain the concepts to promote access to justice.

Judge Morin did not adhere to a rigid set of rules about speaking Cree. Instead, he would listen to people in court. When people would speak Cree, he spoke Cree. If someone switched to English, Judge Morin would switch to speaking English. By adopting a flexible approach, he was able to promote agency in the courtroom.

Other judges would express concerns to Judge Morin about whether he had jurisdiction to implement innovative measures. He cautioned that Courts would build fences around innovation to limit their application. But in his talk, he quipped, “Jurisdiction, benediction!” He is a most deserving recipient of this award.

Stay tuned for details the next compelling speaker

Until next time,

The ReconciliACTION YEG team

  1. University of Alberta Faculty of Law, “2024 ILSA Speaker Series” (2024) online: University of Alberta <>

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