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OKT congratulates moot participants

OKT was proud to be part of two recent moot competitions.  These competitions place law students in mock courtrooms or around negotiation tables to develop their oral advocacy skills and are an important part of all lawyers’ education. OKT continued its annual sponsorship of the national Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Law Moot, which this year was held


Bill C-51 could be a blank cheque to the government to stifle Indigenous dissent

by Michael McClurg and Senwung Luk Never ones to let a crisis go to waste, the federal government has tabled a bill in Parliament to give itself new powers that it says is intended to deal with threats of terrorist violence. The government’s defenders have tried to assuage critics by arguing that Canadians can trust


ACFN Lawsuit Challenges Alberta Consultation Regime

How is Alberta’s new Aboriginal consultation regime faring? Not well, according to a court case filed in Alberta this week by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). The lawsuit asserts that Alberta’s new Aboriginal consultation process is unaccountable, procedurally unfair and denies First Nations their constitutional rights. The case specifically alleges that the newly established


The Tsilhqot’in Decisions and Indigenous Law on Sacred Spaces

Why are there so many conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians about sacred spaces and sites?  What are the differences in how Indigenous law sees sacred spaces versus how the Canadian legal system sees them? In a paper just published in the Supreme Court Law Review, I look at how some of these differences play


From Protest to Process Agreement

Kate Kempton December 4, 2014, 10:20am Sometimes it takes protesting against injustice to make progress. This is true in Northern Manitoba, where hydro dams have a habit of damaging Aboriginal lands and cultures, and not enough people seem to care. On October 16, about 600 protesters from the Pimicikamak nation peacefully took control of the


The Challenge of Reconciliation

On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an historic apology to the Aboriginal people of this country for the legacy of Indian residential schools.  The apology was uncharacteristically solemn; uncharacteristically sincere.  Canada’s leader spoke of a new phase of Aboriginal-settler relations, anchored by the cornerstone of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that


New legislation will affect Aboriginal IBAs

A Frankenstein federal “omnibus” bill includes new legislation requiring companies to report payments to First Nations governments. OKT partner Maggie Wente joined a number of critics in expressing concerns about the new federal bill in an interview with Lexpert Magazine. The Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA) was tabled on October 23 in Parliament as


Treaty Renewal is Canada’s Biggest Challenge

How is renewal of the historic treaties critical to Canada’s future? Bob Rae, a senior partner at OKT, asked this question to a packed room at the University of Regina last week, before fielding more questions from an attentive crowd and media. Rae explored self-government and access to revenues from resource development as a cornerstone


Is the new Human Rights Museum a monument to hypocrisy?

You may have seen news coverage of the controversial opening of the new Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg. The Museum, while touted as a marvel by Canada, has been criticized by Aboriginal groups. If you would like background about why Manitoba First Nations are concerned, here is great piece written by two Manitoba Aboriginal


The dangerous mythology of vanishing explorers and tragically decimated Indians

I have always loved polar exploration stories. And my husband’s family, who are related to the famed Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, traditionally swap arctic adventure books at Christmas and I relish this annual influx of nail-biting tales of courage in extreme environments. So, like many Canadians, I watched spellbound this week, as news and underwater