Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 28: Justice (25-42)

Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law

January 31, 2024

TRU Law infuses the classic tradition of law and a legal education with a modern, innovative approach. Our three-year Juris Doctor (JD) program, taught in award-winning, state-of-the-art facilities among the stunning natural beauty of Kamloops, British Columbia, offers students a well-established curriculum, with an edge.

Our young faculty are bold and visionary thinkers. They are an accomplished group of scholars and legal professionals with demonstrated excellence in teaching and research. They are also purposeful in fostering a friendly and community-oriented atmosphere, cultivating a highly-engaged and driven student body, to advance the legal profession using a combination of conventional and contemporary solutions.

Faculty of Law Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

TRU Law Strategic Plan

TRU Law responded to the Call to Action #28 by making it one of its strategic goals as well as to continue to improve intercultural knowledge, dialogue, and respect. It also added a required second-year course called Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal Relations. 

Strategic Goals

Action on reconciliation and intercultural dialogue

Build on the work that we have already done in response to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in particular in implementing the Commission’s Call to Action #28, as well as our related efforts continually to improve intercultural knowledge, dialogue and respect. Provide improved support and inclusion for Indigenous students by adopting recognized best practices to ensure that this is an educational environment where their perspectives are valued and where they will flourish. Establish our law school as a highly attractive destination for aspiring Indigenous lawyers, especially those who are attracted by a close connection to BC interior communities and smaller communities. Celebrate the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in all aspects of the law school curriculum and community.

TRU Law’s response and strategic goals are in accordance with TRU’s strategic priorities, which include increasing intercultural understanding. One of the ways this is being done is through the indigenization of the university through the inclusion of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal teaching, learning, knowledge, research and creative practice. 

Call to Action # 28

We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and AboriginalCrown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and antiracism.

Mandatory Course: Yes

LAWF 3890 Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal Relations: 3 credits, 2nd Year

The course focuses on the substantive elements of the law-school specific TRC Call to Action #28, especially Indigenous Laws, Crown-Aboriginal relations, Treaties and Aboriginal Rights. To ground the learning on Indigenous Laws, land-based learning will be a central experiential learning element of the course. The course also elaborates on the history and legacy of residential school building and the colonial foundations of the legal system. 

The course will build on indigenous teachings and include skill-based training in inter-cultural competence, anti-racism, human rights and conflict resolution. In addition, it will integrate the international element of TRC Call to Action #28. It refers to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the course will further introduce other international legal obligations that Canada is bound by in regard to Indigenous Peoples.

Both required and elective courses at TRU Law have indigenous content embedded within them. For example, in Property Law students learn about Aboriginal title and land claims, and in Constitutional Law they learn about Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the duty to consult and accommodate.

Elective courses include:

  • Comparative and International Indigenous Rights
  • First Nations Business and Taxation, and
  • First Nations Governance and Economic Development

Students also participate in the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot

1The history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools
Yes. Covered by mandatory course LAWF 3890 Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal relations
2The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Yes. Covered by mandatory course LAWF 3890 Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal relations
3Treaties and Aboriginal rights
Yes. Covered by mandatory course LAWF 3890 Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal relations
4Indigenous law
Yes. Covered by mandatory course LAWF 3890 Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal relations
5Aboriginal–Crown Relations
Yes. Covered by mandatory course LAWF 3890 Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal relations

Land Acknowledgement: 

Located on Thompson Rivers University – Home Page

Thompson Rivers University campuses are on the traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops campus) and the Texelc (Williams Lake campus) within Secwepemcúlecw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc. The region TRU serves also extends into the territories of the St’átimc, Nlakapamux, Nuxalk, Tŝilhqot’in, Dakelh, and Syilx peoples.