On June 16, 2023, Mandell Pinder LLP lawyer Crystal Reeves will speak at the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia’s Indigenous Legal Orders Conference 2023: “Standing Up Indigenous Law.” Crystal will speak at 12:45 pm on a panel discussing coordination agreements in child and family services.
During this day-long course, Crystal will introduce attendees to the Splatsin Coordination Agreement. On March 24, 2023, representatives of the governments of Splatsin, Canada, and British Columbia signed the first coordination agreement in BC pursuant to An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families, SC 2019, c 24. Since 1980, Splatsin has been exercising its jurisdiction over child protection under Spallumcheen Bylaw #3-1980 which Crystal will contextualise as an expression of Secwépemc laws. She will discuss Splatsin’s inherent jurisdiction over the provision of child, family, and community services according to Secwépemc laws, teachings and practices, as well as the writing down of Indigenous laws based on oral traditions and how this is addressed in coordination agreements.
Crystal also addresses other laws that are not in writing, but still need to be included in the agreement. Further topics include: Indigenous laws in the resolution of disputes under coordination agreements; the identification of children and families who are part of the community according to Indigenous laws, and how this might be addressed in coordination agreements; the application of Indigenous laws to families when parents or families disagree with that application and how this can be addressed through coordination agreements; and how new CFCSA amendments will also be at issue when they come into force.
The conference is chaired by Leah George-Wilson (Sisi-ya-ama) of Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Dr. Sarah Morales of Quw’utsun Tribes. Dr. Val Napolean of Saulteau First Nation will be the keynote speaker. It is designed for anyone involved in legal issues respecting Indigenous peoples, and to everyone interested in building constructive partnerships in Canada.
Exploring how Indigenous legal traditions and the common law can co-exist
Organizers promise a “unique” conference as it will not discuss “Aboriginal Law,” i.e. Canadian laws and policy about Indigenous Peoples, but rather, the conference will examine, “Indigenous legal traditions in and of themselves” and evaluate attempts to “Indigenize” current legal practices.
Attendees will learn about:
- existing applications of Indigenous laws;
- legal principles and concepts underlying Indigenous legal orders;
- establishing a pluralistic approach to legal problem-solving;
- how Indigenous legal traditions and the common law might productively co-exist;
- the importance of Indigenous legal processes and institutions;
- what it means to live and work in a multi-juridical system; and
- how to think about, work with, and implement Indigenous laws.
The conference will be held in Vancouver and available via webinar. CLEBC is offering a 50% discount for all Indigenous lawyers and will hold ten free online registrations for Indigenous non-lawyer community members. For more information and to register see CLEBC’s site here.
CLEBC provides a number of resources to educate the legal profession on Truth and Reconciliation. You can access these via its web portal here. It also regularly post to the TRC27 blog, which can be viewed here.