Koren Lightning-Earle. (Akemi Matsubuchi/Submitted)

Koren Lightning-Earle. (Akemi Matsubuchi/Submitted)

Maskwacis lawyer says Indigenous training an ‘example’ to follow

All Alberta lawyers will undergo Indigenous Cultural Competency training

By Chevi Rabbit

For Ponoka News

All lawyers in Alberta will take Indigenous Cultural Competency training starting in early 2021 as part of the Law Society of Alberta’s response to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

In an official statement by Law Society of Alberta president Kent Teskey says the new mandate will give lawyers a “base understanding of how Indigenous clients experience the law in Alberta and in Canada.”

Koren Lightning-Earle, a lawyer from Maskwacis, was part of a team that made this possible. She works for the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge and Thunderbird Law and formerly worked at The Law Society of Alberta in 2018 and 2019 as the Indigenous Initiatives Liaison.

Her role during that time as an Indigenous Liaison was to work with key stakeholders to develop initiatives to advance the process of reconciliation particularly surrounding access to justice for Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Competency for lawyers in Alberta.

“I saw it as a way forward and a step in the right direction of reconciliation,” said Lightning-Earle.

“Cultural competency is … to have the skills and knowledge to work effectively with those of different cultures than your own.”

Lightning-Earle believes it is changing the culture of our justice system and it’s part of an achievable goal to have a legal system where lawyers and judges take cultural awareness training and know the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and respect Indigenous laws.

Evan McIntyre, an Edmonton lawyer at Pringle Chivers Sparks Teskey says, “I think the Indigenous Cultural Competency Training is a very important step for lawyers in Alberta.

“It is all too easy to overlook the different ways in which Indigenous people experience the legal system and the historical and cultural reasons for those differences,” said McIntyre.

“As lawyers, we have significant responsibilities towards our clients, many of whom are indigenous. In my view, this training will help both the profession’s understanding of the specific experiences of our indigenous clients and, more importantly, improve the experiences many of them have in the justice system.”

McIntyre believes this to be a step towards truth and reconciliation. The Law Society developed this initiative as a direct response to the TRC’s Calls to Action.

Lightning-Earle further explains, “The TRC calls to action calls to each and every one of us to do better. To build a better Canada. It cannot be done with people sitting on the sidelines or only doing the work in their day job.

“We have to do the work in our workplaces and in our home fires, reconciliation doesn’t end at 4 pm,” she said.

“The mandatory training for lawyers in Alberta is a huge step in the right direction. I worked on changing the culture at the Law Society and gaining the support of those in leadership and they saw the vision. The new liaison and the Law Society have worked together and made my dream a reality. It is an example for other law societies to follow.”

READ MORE: Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

AlbertaIndigenous reconcilliationLawyersMaskwacis

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Manluk Centre/ Impress
Manluk Centre re-opens to the public

Drop in and registered programs will be available; one-third facility capacity to be followed.

File photo
Leduc RCMP request assistance to identify armed robbery suspect

Leduc RCMP are looking for male responsible for an armed robbery at Super Car and RV Wash in Leduc.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Most Read