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Towards Implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action in Law Schools: A Settler Harm Reduction Approach to Racial Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Legal Orders in Canadian Legal Education

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posted on 2023-03-07, 21:18 authored by Scott FranksScott Franks

Many Canadian law schools are in the process of implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Actions #28 and #50. Promising initiatives include mandatory courses, Indigenous cultural competency, and Indigenous law intensives. However, processes of social categorization and racialization subordinate Indigenous peoples and their legal orders in Canadian legal education. These processes present a barrier to the implementation of the Calls. To ethically and respectfully implement these Calls, faculty and administration must reduce racial stereotyping and prejudice against Indigenous peoples and Indigenous legal orders in legal education. I propose that social psychology on racial prejudice and stereotyping may offer nonIndigenous faculty and administration a familiar framework to reduce the harm caused by settler beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors to Indigenous students, professors, and staff, and to Indigenous legal orders. Although social psychology may offer a starting point for settler harm reduction, its application must remain critically oriented towards decolonization.