In September 2014 Osgoode proudly hosted the first Anishinaabe Law Camp at Neyaashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) in collaboration with the Chippewas of Nawash.
Under the guidance of some of the community’s best knowledge-holders –- legal scholars, ecologists, leaders and elders –- the annual Camp provides about 35 to 40 students and six to eight faculty members with an introduction to Anishinaabe legal concepts and principles, pedagogies and modes of reasoning.
Participants begin to learn how to read the most fundamental text that the Anishinaabe have historically drawn upon to build their intellectual tradition: the land itself. They listen to some of the ancient stories of the Chippewas and discuss how to tease out some of the principles they contain for living respectfully and resolving conflicts. Aspects of current conflicts and dilemmas experienced by the community are also explained and reflected on throughout their stay.
The Camp’s benefits are numerous:
- First-year Indigenous and non-Indigenous law students form strong bonds with each other, with some of their upper-year peers, and with faculty members;
- Participants’ awareness of the existence and richness of Indigenous legal traditions, contributing to their understanding of, and orientation to the law, to Osgoode, and to the territory of First Nations in southern Ontario is increased;
- Participants’ common law training is seen in critical perspective, and they have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities not only as members of the Osgoode community, but in relation to the Indigenous communities whose territories they live and study on in Toronto.