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Students of the world’s first Indigenous law program at UVic set to graduate

Graduates to influence areas of law such as constitutionalism, Indigenous governance
Amanda Vick is part of the first graduating class of the Indigenous law program at the University of Victoria. (Photo courtesy of University of Victoria)

A class of 23 students in what is billed as the world’s first law program combining Indigenous and non-Indigenous law are set to graduate, four years after it was launched at the University of Victoria.

The joint program is a response to a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish Indigenous law institutes and equips students with the capacity to work across multiple legal systems – students graduate with both a Juris Doctor and Juris Indigenarum Doctor degree.

“When I first realized the unique way that I was going to learn the law, I felt both excited for the journey and humbled by the responsibility gifted to me,” said Amanda Vick, a Gitxsan Nation member and part of the first graduating class.

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Graduates will work within and influence areas of law such as constitutionalism and Indigenous governance, criminal law, environmental protection, intellectual property housing, family law and child protection and administrative law, as well as lands, business and economies.

Such areas currently have a lack of legal expertise to create institutions grounded in Indigenous laws, according to UVic.

In future the university will be home to the National Centre for Indigenous Laws, with construction set to begin later this spring near the law faculty’s Fraser building.

The graduating students will celebrate their accomplishments at a recognition event on Saturday (April 9) at the Songhees Wellness Centre and formally receive their degrees during UVic convocation ceremonies in June.

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