Indigenous Students and Studies

McGill students listen as they go on a medicine walk as part of the Aboriginal Field Course.
Image by Lysanne Larose.

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. First Nations, Inuit and Métis persons are strongly encouraged to apply to the Faculty of Law, and are invited to self-identify on their application form. In the 2020-2021 academic year, the Faculty welcomed six Métis and First Nation students. In May 2021, the Faculty announced the appointment of Kimberly Lee-Louis, BCL/LLB'13, as the inaugural Assistant Dean (Inclusion - Black and Indigenous Flourishing). Assistant Dean Lee-Louis 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 another priority. In 2017, we hosted Professor John Borrows, a leading scholar in this field. In August 2018, Aaron Mills (Waabishki Ma'iingan, Baatwetang) joined the Faculty as Assistant Professor, and Métis scholar Kerry Sloan joined us in August 2019, also as Assistant Professor.

Les traditions juridiques autochtones dans le programme de la Faculté

L’approche transsystémique unique à la formation juridique au cœur du programme de McGill et l’importance prépondérante du pluralisme juridique au sein de la Faculté en font un terreau fertile pour l’étude des traditions juridiques autochtones. Celles-ci font partie intégrante d’un grand nombre de cours depuis plusieurs années, mais dans la foulée des appels à l’action de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation, nous nous employons à officialiser la présence des traditions juridiques autochtones dans la liste des cours obligatoires et optionnels. Les traditions juridiques autochtones sont maintenant enseignées au sein du cours de Justice pénale et Fondement de droit en première année et du cours transsystémique de deuxième année sur les Biens. Le Comité du programme de la Faculté travaille présentement à l’élaboration de propositions pour multiplier les occasions d’étudier les traditions juridiques autochtones en classe et hors 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 also 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. Please contact us for more information (Email: admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca).

Indigenous Law Summer Program

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.

In order 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 admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca (contact us) for more information.

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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