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Call to Action # 42: Justice (25-42)

Aboriginal and Indigenous Law is complicated. A new website hopes to change that

September 22, 2023

Abajignmuen website highlights projects created by Dalhousie law students 

A woman is seen during an interview in the CBC Halifax newsroom.
Naiomi Metallic, Chancellor’s chair in Aboriginal law and Policy at Dalhousie University, led the push to create the new website. (Stephanie VanKampen)

CBC Indigenous: A new website featuring work by students at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University aims to demystify aspects of Indigenous and Aboriginal law by providing clear and concise information for those looking to learn more about its nuances. 

Named Abajignmuen – after the Mi’kmaw word used to describe giving back to the community –  the website’s creation was led by lawyer Naiomi Metallic, a member of Listiquj First Nation, and the Chancellors Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy at the Schulich School of Law.

“Primarily the projects will be used by community members, but also members of the public,” said Metallic in an interview with Mainstreet Nova Scotia this week.

The projects were created by students in Metallic’s Aboriginal Law classes, as part of an assignment that asked them to share what they were learning in an accessible way that would be easily digestible for non-lawyers. 

“Right now we’ve got 70 projects, and I’m hoping that every year it will keep growing,” she said.

The projects include one explainer that boils down the complex rules surrounding status into a clear and concise infographic, another detailing cross-border Indigenous rights between the U.S. and Canada, and a booklet that explains the concept of self-governance.

Later this year, Metallic said the website will include a style guide for students studying Aboriginal Law, with details on how to use proper terminology in assignments and papers. 

“I think we’re going to be the first school that publishes a style guide like this,” she said. 

In addition to projects completed by students, the website also offers information about the university’s Certificate in Aboriginal and Indigenous Law program and its Indigenous, Blacks and Mi’kmaq Initiative to increase representation in the legal profession.

The website is online now