NAN disappointed Ontario won't fund law school with focus on Aboriginal law

    THUNDER BAY, ON, July 29 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy and NAN Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose are disappointed with the
Government of Ontario's position that it will not fund any new law schools,
including Lakehead University's proposal for a program in Northwestern Ontario
with a focus on Aboriginal law.
    "We are very disappointed by the decision of the Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities as we have worked closely with Lakehead University
for the creation and accreditation of a law school in the North," said
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "Everyone jokes that
there are already enough lawyers, but in fact there is a severe shortage of
lawyers skilled in Aboriginal law and who practice in northern communities."
    Since 2005, Nishnawbe Aski Nation has partnered with Lakehead University
to develop a curriculum that will address the unique needs of northern
communities, including a focus on small and rural practices and a focus on
Aboriginal law.
    "We see this law school as an important investment in the future of our
people, as it will encourage First Nations youth to pursue careers that will
enable our people to deal more effectively in business, resource development
and will improve our government-to-government relations as we move towards
greater self-sufficiency and self-reliance," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Terry
Waboose, who represents NAN on Lakehead's law school initiative. "We recognize
that education is a key to our success, and we will continue to support
Lakehead University's efforts to establish a law school."
    Lakehead University has submitted a proposal to the Canadian Federation
of Law Schools, including letters of support from law firms and individuals
from across the province and the country.
    "We plan to continue to move forward with this proposal as we see this as
a relevant and much-needed program," said Dr. Fred Gilbert, Lakehead
University president and vice-chancellor. "We will pursue this initiative with
our partners to ensure that at some point a law school is successfully

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 621-2790, mobile

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