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My Indigenous Law Summer Student Experience at the CRT

By Beth Fox, Indigenous Law Summer Student

I am a Blood Tribe member from Treaty 7 territory in Southern Alberta and have been a guest on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples since 2018. Three years ago I began the joint degree program in Canadian Common Law (JD) and Indigenous Legal Orders (JID) at the University of Victoria. This summer, I worked at the CRT in the position of Indigenous Law Summer Student.

During my time at the CRT, I got to work on projects within the CRT’s small claims, vehicle accident and strata jurisdictions. I gained experience in areas of law that I seldom have encountered in my studies and appreciated the exposure and new learning. I also had the privilege of working on the CRT’s Reconcili(action) Plan, which was introduced earlier this year and is being implemented over the next few years, from 2021-2024. I am very proud that I was able to assist in advancing the CRT’s goals of reconciliation with Indigenous people. I believe that implementation of the Reconcili(action) Plan will improve the experiences of Indigenous people who access the CRT and set a positive example for other tribunals and organizations who wish to do the same.

The parts of the Reconcili(action) Plan that I chose to work on are particularly meaningful to me. I took an interest in goals that relate to Indigenous law and staff training, two areas that I believe have great potential to positively impact Indigenous people. I was given creative control over what my contribution to this work could look like and felt that my work was valued and appreciated. One of the highlights of my term was sharing a presentation on my work to staff members. This presentation provided an introduction to Indigenous law. It helped create a sense of shared understanding amongst staff and set the foundation for further reconciliation work. I was humbled by the staff engagement, insight and expertise that was evident in the discussion following the presentation. It gives me hope for the incredible work that I know will continue after my work term has come to an end.

As I move on from the CRT and continue my studies, I look forward to checking in with the CRT and hearing more about how the Reconcili(action) Plan is being implemented. This is exciting work, and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of it!