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

BCFNJC Holds 3rd Annual First Nations Justice Forum

April 4, 2024

NationTalk: Unceded & Ancestral Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, Vancouver, BC:  The BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC) is excited to hold the 3rd Annual First Nations Justice Forum at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver from April 8-10th, 2024 2024 on the Unceded & Ancestral Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, Vancouver, BC. The Justice Forum, planned with support from BC’s Indigenous Justice Secretariat, gathers First Nations leaders, Rights Holders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Indigenous legal service providers, government partners, and other collaborators to advance the implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.

Building on the insights and wisdom gained from the previous 2023 Justice Forum, the theme of 2024 Justice Forum is “Collaboration.” This year’s forum is truly about fostering kinship and connection, allowing culture and tradition to guide actions and strengthen relationships. For three days, delegates from diverse backgrounds will become a collaborative, empowered community – they will share food, participate in ceremony, listen to Elders, and witness and engage in culturally-grounded justice work.

“This in-person event allows us to dig deeper and come together in dialogue and action, – face-to-face, heart-to-heart – to transform the colonial justice system,” stated Kory Wilson, BCFNJC Chair. “For centuries, Indigenous justice systems and legal traditions have been rejected and challenged by colonial law. The Justice Forum is about reclaiming space for their restoration and upholding transparency and accountability. BCFNJC will share our groundbreaking progress advancing the BC First Nations Justice Strategy. Through plenary sessions, breakout rooms, workshops, and other forms of culturally grounded engagement, First Nations and Indigenous delegates will continue to shape this progress, ensuring the work is reflecting their community justice priorities and needs. Moreover, all participants will roll-up their sleeves and get to work in ways that will inform BCFNJC’s work in 2024 and into the future. BCFNJC is grateful to the Law Foundation of BC for being such a strong justice collaborator and funding the Justice Forum.”

The BC First Nations Justice Strategy (the Strategy) was signed by BCFNJC and the Province of British Columbia on March 6, 2020, to address the poor justice outcomes for Indigenous people in BC. The Strategy contains 25 distinct, yet interdependent strategies that impact all areas of the justice system, from policing to community-based justice programming. With its comprehensive scope of work involving many justice partners, the Strategy recognizes the need for continuous information sharing, progress tracking, and engagement, calling for an annual Justice Forum (Strategy 16) to facilitate this.

This year’s Justice Forum will mark incredible firsts and milestones on the implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy. BCFNJC will be releasing the Final Draft of its Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan (Strategy 11), holding a gathering for its inaugural Elders and Knowledge Keepers Council (Strategy 21), and launching the official website that the public can use to track the progress of the Strategy’s implementation (Strategy 16). Further details on the Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan will be released on Monday, April 8, 2024, and more information about the Justice Forum’s agenda and events can be found on BCFNJC’s website.

“BCFNJC has a commitment to transform the justice system for the better and is accountable to 200+ First Nations in BC. The Justice Forum allows BCFNJC to honour this accountability, share with Nations the work that is being done to advance the Strategy, highlight areas for action, gather insights and guidance, and have fulsome discussions that will lead to transformation of the colonial justice system,” stated Amanda Carling, CEO of BCFNJC. “We know that the Justice Forum also requires the full support and participation of our government partners and justice collaborators. BCFNJC has intentionally created a supportive environment, grounded in traditions, culture and healing, where everyone can contribute to the work of justice and reconciliation. All Justice Forum delegates will have access to Wellness Rooms where they can be enveloped in the support and care of Elders.”

“The Justice Forum upholds a collaborative vision of restored Indigenous justice that is rooted in the hearts and minds of Indigenous people – in their wisdom, culture, and leadership. The Law Foundation of BC is committed to advancing this vision and is proud to support the 3rd Annual Justice Forum,” stated Josh Paterson, Executive Director, the Law Foundation of BC. “We know that the justice system needs to change, and that Indigenous people and communities already have the solutions. As justice partners, and collaborators we come to the Justice Forum to support their solutions and help them break down the barriers they may face in implementing them.”

About the BCFNJC

The BC First Nations Justice Council has been entrusted with the mandate to transform the justice system and create better outcomes for Indigenous people through implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.

The strategy, signed March 06, 2020, was jointly developed by the BC First Nations Justice Council, BC First Nations communities and the Province of British Columbia. It includes 43 actions along two paths which involve the reformation of the current system as well as the restoration of Indigenous legal traditions and structures.

Media Contacts:

Trevor Pancoust

Greg Descantes