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November 1st 2023
It wasn’t until Amanda Carling, a Métis from Red River, sat down in her law class at the University of Toronto that she realized the racist underpinnings of the profession she’d entered.
“Not only did lawyers watch the genocide against Indigenous people happen and do nothing, as a body, lawyers allowed the genocide to happen,” she said. “Because they drafted the Indian Act.”
The more she learned about the colonial laws that took children, resources and economic opportunities away from Indigenous people, the more she began to want to dismantle it.
Now, Carling, CEO of the BC First Nations Justice Council, is spearheading the opening of five regional Indigenous Justice Centres across B.C. this fall. These five centres will add to five pre-existing centres in the province and bring the council closer to fulfilling its goal of opening 15 centres in B.C. by 2024.
The creation of these centres is one of the many initiatives being undertaken as part of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, carried out by the council and endorsed by both the provincial and federal governments. In 2022, Canada committed $8.9 million to the council to expand the number of centres in B.C. And in June, the province announced $44 million to help open the centres.