Chief Alexis disappointed that more than 800 lawyers in Alberta voted against Indigenous cultural training

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023 7:00pm


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Chief Tony Alexis
Statement from Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation

I would like to acknowledge the positive outcome of the Law Society of Alberta’s vote to continue requiring Indigenous cultural training for lawyers practicing in Alberta. I am glad to see that this mandatory training will continue.

This is an incredibly important requirement and a fulfillment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 27 to “ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training”. I am happy to know that a large majority of members of the Law Society participating in the vote recommended continuing this critical cultural awareness training.

I’m disappointed to see that the need to have better knowledge about this land’s First Peoples seems to have been called into question by over 800 members of the Law Society who voted to remove the training. There continues to be a widespread lack of awareness regarding the culture, history, traditions and rights of Indigenous Peoples and it should be addressed at every opportunity.

Every place our People encounter this ignorance negatively impacts relations and outcomes, and in the court room this can have dire consequences for individuals, families and communities. Increasing this cultural understanding within the practice of law can also open doors for Indigenous People to take up the profession. It is important that people understand the law, but it is equally important that the law understands our People.

Awareness of Indigenous culture, history, Treaty and Inherent Rights are all essential parts of the evolution of all professions on Turtle Island. Opportunities to increase that awareness should be welcomed with open arms as we work to build better relations, and an honorable and more inclusive world.