Educational Endowment For Aboriginal Justice
by Bryan Williams, QC
Recently I accepted the chairmanship of the Educational Endowment for Aboriginal Justice fundraising committee for the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. I feel this initiative is an important one and welcome an opportunity to inform others about this campaign.
During the last 20 years, aboriginal rights and title, and other issues involving native people have become more and more complex and important. It has seemed to me for some time now that what is missing from most law schools in Canada is a comprehensive program of aboriginal law. I recall when I was National CBA President in 1986 establishing my top priority for the year, which was “equal justice for native people”. Since that time, no where near enough has been done in the law schools of our country to make provision for a series of courses desperately needed by both aboriginal and non-aboriginal students interested in this subject matter.
A chair on aboriginal education is a strong move and an important step through the educational process toward reconciliation of those issues which exist between First Nations and the levels of government within Canada.
My first responsibility as fundraising chair was to find, and indeed I have found, a very impressive group of British Columbians who would work together through a fundraising committee to raise the funds necessary to fund the chair and accomplish the missions of the Educational Endowment for Aboriginal Justice. The UVic law school met its first responsibility by enticing Professor John Borrows, an outstanding educator in this field, to accept the challenge as the first chair.
Of course, I would not use my opportunity in writing this article to try to “sell our product”. Let me just say that I cannot think of anything more rewarding than making a contribution to this Endowment Fund.
Bryan Williams, QC, is the Fundraising Chair for the Educational Endowment for Aboriginal Justice at the UVic Faculty of Law.
This article was published in the April 2002 issue of BarTalk. © 2002 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.