Sahwoo Mohkaak Tis Ma Taas: Before Being Judged

The Cause

Lawyers and Advocates working together with traditional Indigenous elders & community members from the local and surrounding Calgary area to combine ceremony and cultural practises with public legal education and access to justice services & support. Through outreach & cross cultural relationship building, we hope to enhance the understanding of & further inspire local volunteer lawyers to offer free, culturally sensitive services to Aboriginal peoples, and to engage urban Aboriginal people experiencing homelessness and the Stoney Nakoda Nation (west of Calgary) in learning more about their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities to strengthen community members' understanding & positive experience of the justice system.

Who Will it Benefit?

1. Local volunteer lawyers - we currently have 300+ on our roster
2. Calgary Legal Guidance Staff - pro bono lawyers, articling students, and community advocates
3. The Stoney Nakoda Nation - during a recent meeting, members of the reserves Human Services Department advised us of the need for this service and the great difference it could make for the community
4. Urban Aboriginal People experiencing homelessness - historically and currently an over-represented population in both poverty & homelessness, and the justice system. If we can reduce the fear of the system and build trust between the urban Aboriginal community and pro-bono lawyers - we know that we can increase access to justice for people who really need it.
5. The Elders - Aboriginal Elders have always been the traditional "judges" and teachers of their respective communities. The Truth & Reconciliation calls to action demand we recognize and respect this and that we engage Elders in building the bridges between our peoples.