In March 2021, the CRT released its Reconcili(action) Plan. This document sets out the CRT’s commitment to implementing specific, measurable, and timely actions toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
From May to August 2021 the CRT’s Indigenous summer law student, Beth Fox, focused on helping the CRT take action on two commitments in the Plan:
13. The CRT will provide different options in order to accommodate Indigenous approaches to resolving disputes and help participants resolve their disputes consensually if possible.
14. The CRT will integrate Indigenous legal principles, protocols and practices into the CRT’s processes.
This is the second blog post in a series about this work. See the first blog post: What is Indigenous Law?
Both the CRT and many Indigenous legal orders see the importance of maintaining relationships, even when people disagree. This might seem like a straightforward opportunity to combine Indigenous dispute resolution methods into the CRT, but it’s not as simple as just changing processes. The CRT must have a long-term, meaningful engagement of Indigenous law. The CRT must think about how to support Indigenous legal principles in each step in the CRT’s process, and how each system can work side by side.
We need to pay particular attention to the current state of Indigenous law in Canada. While Indigenous laws continue to exist, there is much work to be done to revitalize them. Applying Indigenous legal principles into the Canadian legal system can be difficult and damaging to their integrity. Concepts of Indigenous law often haven’t been developed in a way that fits with Canadian law. Indigenous law must stand alongside Canadian law with its own foundations and principles.
The next blog post about Beth’s work will be posted in late June 2022.
Artwork by Clayton Gauthier from the Nak’azdli First Nation. The CRT would like to thank Clayton for the gift of using his artwork in relation to the Reconcili(action) Plan. “Salmon’s Prayer” honours the connection that Indigenous peoples have with the land and water and share with all peoples.