Celebrating Indigenous laws through art

Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan

Osgoode Hall Law School is participating in a special project with The Indigenous Laws + The Arts Collective on Oct. 16 that will pair thinkers of Indigenous laws with Indigenous artists to raise awareness and move the discussion of Indigenous laws forward.

The Testify logo, shows a red feather with the word Testify and "a project of the Indigenous Laws + the Arts Collective"Called Testify: Indigenous Laws + Arts, the celebration of Indigenous laws as expressed through art will begin with a staged reading on Monday, Oct. 16 in Osgoode’s Moot Court Room from 12.30 to 2.30pm by screenwriter Justin Neal of the first episode of Boundary Bay, a TV miniseries that explores the lives surrounding oil and gas development on tribal land in the Pacific Northwest. Sarah Morales, assistant professor at University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (Common Law Section), will provide commentary.

Later the same day, there will be a Pop Up Show and Performance at the Law Society of Upper Canada, 130 Queen Street West, from 7 to 9.30 p.m.

Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan

Professor Ruth Buchanan, coordinator of Osgoode’s LawArtsCulture Colloquium as well as the Law School’s point person on the Testify: Indigenous Laws + Arts project, worked closely with Ardith Walkem, the Testify organizer, and Professor Jeffery Hewitt of the University of Windsor Faculty of Law (which hosted Testify on October 13) to bring the project to Ontario.

“Testify is an important collaborative project between Indigenous artists and legal thinkers,” Buchanan said. “Its intended audience is the legal profession, legal educators and future lawyers who are interested in learning more both about Indigenous laws and about Indigenous experience with Canadian law.”

The event at the law society, which will be emceed by Duncan McCue, host of CBC Radio One’s Cross Country Checkup, will feature the same script reading as at Osgoode, followed by a performance of (Il)legal Let us Cry by Mariel Belanger in collaboration with Greg Younging.

In addition, there will be a dialogue with the artists/authors of Testify including Nadya Kwandibens, Jeffery Hewitt, Louise Mandell, Shain Jackson, Halie Bruce, Ardith Walkem, Pamela Shields, Jade Baxter, Maxine Matilpi, Georgia Lloyd-Smith, Gwaii Edenshaw and Richard Heikkila-Sawan.

Admission to the reading at Osgoode is free, but it is necessary to register and purchase tickets for the Pop Up Show and Performance at the Law Society. To register and purchase tickets, visit http://bit.ly/2xy7Ydw.

Testify is made possible through the generous support of Osgoode Hall Law School; The Law Society of Upper Canada; First Peoples Cultural Council (BC); {Re}conciliation – a project of Canada Council; the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation; and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.