Guiding the Process of Indigenous Law Revitalization
Is there someone in your community who would like to learn about your laws through dialogue? Someone who would like to help others gain confidence in working with your laws? Someone who is interested in both learning from and teaching others?
- Each Indigenous nation participating in a RELAW Learning Partnership will be asked to identify one or more individuals to work with the RELAW legal team. Together, they will be participants in a shared process of applied learning over the course of a year, and work collaboratively to develop the legal products that are the focus of the project.
- The role of these individuals may look different and may be referred to differently in each participating nation, depending on your own laws and decision-making processes. In our materials we have referred to this role as a community guide.
- Community guides will gain skills and learning that will help them shape discussions in their community, creating space for thoughtful engagement with Indigenous law, assumptions, beliefs, values, processes and context.
- When we reflect on individuals we know who are skilled guides of community dialogue we observe that they have good people skills and are:
- attentive listeners with awareness of ethical responsibilities;
- courageous, respectful and value the full expression of ideas; and,
- committed to enabling the group to make informed decisions through dialogue without imposing their own view.
- Community guides should be confident community organizers who are able and willing to communicate with citizens of the nation about the project, and to do the legwork to encourage participation.
- Because designing and guiding community processes to make informed decisions about important issues can involve lots of planning, organizational and project management skills are also important.
- If possible, participants are encouraged to identify trusted family members, elders, knowledge-keepers or other sources of support and guidance in their communities who can support them in their learning and Indigenous law work.
- Identifying how the role of community guide relates to the specific legal processes of their own legal tradition will be a key part of participants’ learning during the RELAW project. It may have aspects that are similar to an existing or traditional role in the community. For example in some Coast Salish traditions a šqʷiqʷél̓ or hired “speaker” may guide their family in the procedures involved in ceremony and relay the words of the family to others in the Bighouse, but this role may not exist in other legal traditions.
- It is our goal to support participants in shaping their role into one that is appropriate for their nation’s legal tradition.
Details for Community Guides
- RELAW community guide is a paid position for Indigenous community members working on the RELAW project.
- Participants selected by their nation to work as RELAW community guides will be working alongside legally trained staff from West Coast Environmental law to design and implement a community process to support their nation in identifying and/or applying its own laws in relation to a particular environmental issue or aspect of land and resource management in the territory, as well as participating in co-learning sessions.
- Participating individuals will have the opportunity to engage with their nation’s own laws and processes regarding ecological governance and to explore how these can and should shape community decision-making processes about land and resource management.
- RELAW community guides are expected to attend three co-learning sessions (RELAW Retreats). The first retreat will be a “virtual” one, featuring a three-week webinar series, and subject to public health recommendations, there will be two in-person retreats of 3-4 days each.
- Community guides should expect to be working at least 25 hours a week on the RELAW project.
- There is no cost to participants for the co-learning aspects of the RELAW program. Scholarships of up to $40,000 per nation are available based on need and circumstances to offset the costs to the nation of the community guide(s)’ salary during the RELAW project, as well as to cover travel costs to the learning sessions.
For more information about the RELAW program please contact Rayanna Seymour at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-684-7378 (ext 226).