Indigenous Students and Studies

A group of students standing outdoors facing an Indigenous teacher

McGill Law is committed to becoming one of Canada’s leading faculties in Indigenous legal studies. 

McGill University is located on land that has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes, and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today. 

As the Faculty of Law continues to engage with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action, a number of new initiatives have been implemented, and many new ones are expected in the years to come, as we work toward giving Indigenous legal traditions and Indigenous people their just place in the McGill Program and at our Faculty. 

Indigenous students and faculty 

McGill Law is committed to recruiting and supporting Indigenous students, and we recognize that Indigenous peoples face unique barriers to accessing legal education and the legal profession. In 2022, we created an Optional Category for Indigenous Applicants, which is open to Indigenous peoples with ties to Turtle Island. In the 2022-2023 academic year, the Faculty welcomed five Métis and First Nations students. In November 2022, the Faculty announced the appointment of Brittany Williams, BCL/LLB'19, as the assistant dean (students) and dean’s lead, Black and Indigenous flourishing. Assistant Williams will play a leadership role in the Faculty of Law's collective efforts towards recruiting and supporting Black and Indigenous law students. 

Bolstering the place of Indigenous legal research and teaching at the Faculty is a priority. As such, we are proud to have Professor Kirsten Anker, Professor Aaron Mills, an Indigenous scholar, and Professors Kerry Sloan and Joshua Nichols, two Métis scholars, among our faculty members. 

Les traditions juridiques autochtones dans le programme de la Faculté 

L’approche transsystémique distinctive de McGill et l’importance du pluralisme juridique à la Faculté créent un environnement propice à l’étude des traditions juridiques autochtones. Ces traditions juridiques font partie intégrante de nombreux cours depuis plusieurs années et, en réponse aux appels à l’action de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation, nous avons accru la présence des traditions juridiques autochtones dans nos cours obligatoires et facultatifs.  

Le cours obligatoire de première année du programme BCL/JD en Traditions juridiques autochtones initie la cohorte aux sources sélectionnées de ces dernières. Il traite des liens entre les manières d'être, la connaissance et le droit autochtone, y compris comment ces liens ont été fragilisés par le contexte de la colonisation et les efforts pour les revitaliser. Parmi les sujets traités, la vision du monde et les contextes constitutionnels des traditions juridiques autochtones, le contexte colonial qui a forgé les réalités contemporaines du droit autochtone et de la formation juridique autochtone.  

Les traditions juridiques autochtones sont également enseignées dans le cadre des cours de justice pénale (un cours d’un an dans la première année du programme) et du droit des biens (un cours d’un an en deuxième année). La faculté travaille à multiplier les occasions d'étudier les traditions juridiques autochtones à l'intérieur et au-delà des salles de classe. Comment s’investir dans les traditions et les communautés autochtones : 

* Veuillez noter que les possibilités énumérées ici ne sont pas offertes chaque année et que, dans certains cas, une demande doit être présentée à des établissements extérieurs à la Faculté de droit pour pouvoir y participer. 

Expect more developments in years to come as the Faculty continues its work to implement the TRC Calls to Action. 

Student-led activities 

McGill Law students lead an active and vibrant Indigenous Law Association de Droit Autochtone (ILADA). ILADA publishes monthly articles and hosts events at the Faculty with a goal of addressing issues, primarily through law, that are relevant to the relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island. 

The Faculty supports student involvement in the Indigenous Bar Association, including financial support for Indigenous students to attend their annual conference. 

Support for language acquisition 

Thanks to the generous support of the McCarthy Tétrault Fund for Language Training, financial support is available for admitted Indigenous students who wish to improve their abilities in English or French before starting the program, as well as continuing financial support for Indigenous students while they are studying at McGill Law. In addition, applicants in the Indigenous category who are admitted with a condition to improve their language proficiency in either English or French may be eligible for a one-year deferral of admission, to allow them to complete the training to attain the requisite level of passive bilingualism, while retaining their spot in a future cohort. Please contact us for more information (Email: [at] 

Indigenous Law Centre Programming 

The Indigenous Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan offers curriculum and programming that aims to facilitate access to legal education for Indigenous peoples, to promote the development of the law and the legal system in Canada in ways which better accommodate the advancement of Indigenous peoples and communities, and to disseminate information concerning Indigenous peoples and the law. 

We encourage all incoming students to explore the opportunities available at the Indigenous Law Centre before beginning their legal studies at McGill. 

To facilitate access to this course and help offset the cost of associated living expenses and course materials, the Faculty of Law is pleased to offer financial support to incoming Indigenous students in the McGill Law Program attending the Summer Program. Please contact us for more information. (Email: [at]

First Peoples’ House 

McGill's First Peoples' House provides a sense of community and a voice for Indigenous students who have left their communities to study at McGill. A “home away from home,” First Peoples’ House offers a mentoring program, computer facilities, guest lectures, elder visits, academic counselling, and an ever-expanding resource centre, as well as housing. 

Aide financière 

En plus de l’aide financière étudiante offerte par McGill, les personnes autochtones peuvent être admissibles à plusieurs autres sources d’aide financière. Visitez la page sur l’aide financière aux autochtones de McGill. 

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