For his first episode as host of Conversations with the President, Brad talks with Alyssa Bird, Evans Family Law and Robin Sutherland, Director of Indigenous Relations at Lakehead’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, about the The Truth and Reconciliation’s eleventh call to action.
Conversations with the President: The President’s take on TRC’s Calls to Action, Ep 2: Adequate Education Funding
For his first episode as host of Conversations with the President, Brad talks with Alyssa Bird and Robin Sutherland about The Truth and Reconciliation’s eleventh call to action is a demand for “adequate funding to end the backlog of First Nations students seeking post-secondary education.”
Alyssa Bird is an Anishinaabe and Cree woman from the Pequis First Nation. She earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of Manitoba, where she was an executive member of the Manitoba Indigenous Law Students Association. She now practises with Evans Family Law in Winnipeg.
Robin Sutherland is a Mushkegowuk Innino raised in the Moose Cree First Nation and a proud member of the Fort Albany First Nation. His background is in teaching secondary school in his home community. He is now the Director of Indigenous Relations at Lakehead’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.
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Voice-over: This is the Every Lawyer, presented by the Canadian Bar Association.
Brad Regehr: Tansy, bonjour, and hello, everyone. Welcome to Conversations with the President. My name is Brad Regehr. The Canadian Bar Association is a hundred and twenty four years old, and I'm its first indigenous President. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission studied the legacy of the Indian Residential School system and listened to the powerful stories of those who survived being ripped from their parents and their culture.
They survived institutionalised physical and sexual abuse. They survived being punished for speaking their own language. In 2015 the TRC published ninety four calls to action, a list of things that needed to happen in order for reconciliation between indigenous peoples and the descendants of European settlers, to reconcile and move forward together.
This year the podcast will look at calls to action that are directed at the legal profession and the justice system. I’ll be talking with students, lawyers and academics about their experiences about what has changed since 2015 and what still needs to be done.
The Truth and Reconciliation’s eleventh call to action is a demand for adequate funding to end the backlog of First Nations students seeking post-secondary education. Funding is important, of course, but that’s not the beginning or the end of supports that indigenous students need to talk about and to thrive in the academic world.
A 2016 report talks about having – about other barriers, such as living in remote communities and having to travel, lack of mentors and established networks, systemic racism and a lack of awareness of aboriginal issues in the school.
My guests this episode are Alyssa Bird and Robin Sutherland. Alyssa Bird is an Anishinaabe and Cree woman from the Peguis First Nation. She earned her juris doctorate at the University of Manitoba, where she was an executive member of the Manitoba Indigenous Law Students Association. She now practices with Evans Family Law in Winnipeg.
Robin Sutherland is a Mushkegowuk Innino raised in the Moose Cree First Nation, and is a proud member of the Fort Albany First Nation. His background is in teaching secondary school in his home community. He moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to take the position of Aboriginal Transitions Advisor at Lakehead University. He is now the Director of Indigenous Relations at Lakehead’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.
Welcome both of you to the podcast.
Alyssa, let’s start with you. You were called to the bar this year in Manitoba – congratulations. Can you tell me a bit about yourself? What brought you to the study of law?
Alyssa Bird: Bonjour Tansy. [Local dialect 00:02:41]. This [unintelligible 00:02:45] is my introduction here.
Well, my undergrad degree, I was taking a whole bunch of indigenous life courses, and I found myself in any of the readings, I was getting assigned the ones I was most – been most inspired by, was indigenous academics who had a background in law.
So, like, okay, these guys are all saying really cool things, things that I want to learn more about, and I want to essentially do the work that they are doing, and be able to speak so powerfully and so passionately about things like Indigenous sovereignty and indigenous legal traditions revitalisations and finding creative ways to challenge the Canadian legal system.
So then towards the end of my undergrad, I was just, like, you know, why not? Give it a shot, [unintelligible words 00:03:40], apply in to law school, and if I get in, I get in. And that, about essentially, was my first step.
Brad Regehr: I’ve got to tell you, Alyssa, that sounds a lot like how I came into law, so that’s kind of cool.
Alyssa Bird: Yeah.
Brad Regehr: Quite often people studying law will have a built-in network, family connections, friends who help them navigate, give them advice about schools and finding jobs. What kind of support did you have?
Alyssa Bird: My first introduction into, I guess, what the legal system was, was I remember way back in grade nine, they had that Take your Kid to Work Day, and I had a relative who works in justice, who we reached out to and asked if I can go and hang out with him for the day. I remember showing up, real nervous, because again, being a young person thinking of law and law courses, like, this big scary monolith of a system.
And I was able to hang out with my relative, who showed me around the law court, stuck me in a room where a proceeding was going on, and got to check out his office. And that was my – I lovingly call him Uncle Murray, Murray Sinclair.
And so he was my first kind of big support of opening my – I guess, my view as a young person, that this was something that I can do. Throughout undergrad, I had really strong academic professors who when, as they were teaching me some of the legal systems going on, that were in place, one of them was by the name of Doctor – Professor [Vilandra] who introduced me to another one of his relatives, who was working at the law school at the time, and that was Wendy Whitecloud.
So there were these little steps where I was introduced to people who kind of had one foot – well, not one foot, I guess that’s more of being fully immersed in the legal system, like, Uncle Murray. But there were small nudges that were getting me towards there, but other than that, it’s just been my family, who have been the biggest supports in terms of saying, yeah, you can do it, go for it, why not?
Brad Regehr: Thanks for sharing that, Alyssa. Robin, I'm going to turn to you. Your background is teaching. Why did you want to become a teacher?
Robin Sutherland: [Local dialect 00:06:12]. First of all, [Local dialect 00:06:15]. For those of you that don’t speak [Inninowin 00:06:25], that is what I said. So hello, everyone, my name is Robin Sutherland, I am from the[ pipe-land], or so I’ve been told, and I come from Fort Albany First Nation.
To answer your question, Brad, why did I get into education, growing up I think that I always had a passion for helping others. And also growing up, I think, much like any other indigenous youth, law school wasn’t really on my radar, wasn’t really an option for me. I didn’t really consider it in my world.
But both my parents were professionals; my mother was a nurse and my father was a teacher, so those were the two biggest fields that were in my view. And I leaned towards teaching, because I did like working with younger people, with youth, especially indigenous youth.
As I progressed through my education, becoming a high school teacher in Fort Albany, I really – that passion struck home with me, I really enjoyed working with people from my community especially, and helping them realise their goals.
When I left Fort Albany with my wife, we moved back to Thunder Bay, and that’s where I got a job at the main campus of Lakehead University, as the Aboriginal Transition Advisor.
And in that role, I was helping, again, indigenous youth achieve their goals, whether it be pursuing a professional degree, pursuing any type of employment through a university degree. That was what I enjoyed doing, and I still enjoy it.
And now the law school, it seems more specialised now in helping indigenous youth achieve their dreams and becoming lawyers or law practitioners. And I really do enjoy that, it’s very satisfying work.
Brad Regehr: In your role as Aboriginal Transition Advisor, what was the experience of students who came to you when you were working in that office? They came down to Lakehead and what was their background, what had been their experience in the educational system?
Robin Sutherland: So I think when talking about indigenous people in general, even indigenous youth, it’s very hard to place them in one box. There’s a wide variety of backgrounds there.
So some come in with very little educational experience, very little urban experience, so part of my job was helping students adjust and transition from some of the remote communities they might be coming in from, to the urban environment of Thunder Bay. A much larger city, compared to a small reserve.
Also, the transition from high school to post-secondary, which is a big transition for anybody, but especially for someone coming from a remote reserve, where they might not even have a high school, or their high school might be a bit sub-standard due to the financial resources and various other reasons.
So I think that the supports that students need going into post-secondary, especially coming in from remote backgrounds, includes – it could be academic, it could be cultural. Some of our youths have lost that connection to their culture. Many need that individual support.
And I think that really, the approach to be taking is a holistic approach to identify what each individual student needs, and try and accommodate those needs, whether it be academic, cultural, individual or transitional.
Brad Regehr: I mean, understanding that everyone’s story is different, and there’s a lot of diversity and differences between indigenous groups and communities, but what kind of legacy do you think the residential school system had on indigenous people’s perception of European-style education?
Robin Sutherland: Another great question. I think that it’s had multiple impacts. For one, of course, I think the whole intention behind the residential school system, was to assimilate indigenous people into the mainstream society.
If that wasn’t achieved, I think that the secondary goal was to eliminate our culture and our language. And although they weren't successful, I think we can still see that we’re still here, we’re still proud of our cultures and our languages, and we’re still trying to reclaim those pieces that we’ve lost. But that’s one of the biggest legacies, is losing that connection to our way of life, but also introducing that Western model of education.
With that introduction, I think currently, because of the impacts of the way it was released, I think that we are – some of us are very distrustful of that Westernised system.
I witnessed that teaching in Fort Albany. I found that – oh, let me back up one step – I think that one of the biggest keys to success in education is the support of the family. And in a lot of the reserve communities, I find that there’s not a lot of family support, due to that distrust of the legacy left behind from the residential school system.
And then, it’s partially responsible, I think, for some of the struggles that some of our indigenous youth face in schools in their own communities, but more so when transitioning to schools in urban centres.
Brad Regehr: So would you see that as the biggest obstacle for indigenous students in post-secondary or in secondary education, the issues around family support?
Robin Sutherland: I think that’s more [unintelligible 00:11:18] the secondary level, going into post-secondary, of course, the family support system helps, but by that point, I think many youth are accepting to be more independent.
I think another barrier, of course, as you've mentioned in your introduction, is the financial barriers. Not all of our students receive funding from their bands. Some are, of course, non-status, due to colonial factors, and those students have a much harder time accessing funding to support their education.
Brad Regehr: Well, actually, I'm going to turn back to Alyssa. How about you, did you have trouble finding the necessary resources to go to law school?
Alyssa Bird: No, I did not. The reason why is because I was one of the [unintelligible 00:12:01] who was very, very fortunate enough to get post-secondary support from my community, in the sense that they covered tuition expenses and gave me a bit of a living allowance and things like that.
I often – I find that a lot of students have a hard time admitting that, especially in a place like law school, because what ends up happening is that you hear the prevailing stereotyping that, oh, indigenous people always get free handouts and things like that.
But I usually, whenever somebody had asked me, I would always say, I’ve been very fortunate enough to get support from my community, and I would take it as an educational moment, where I could teach them, you know, it’s not always a guaranteed funding first –off. Each First Nation community has their own funding structure and policies around applicants, and how that process is done.
And those policies and things that are in place, are in place because of the scarcity of funding. And things, like, where I have to renew for funding every year, I had to report on what my GPA was every year, I had to give updates to my student advisor to what courses I was in. And if I – when my GPA for one of my courses – like, this all through undergrad, not just through law school – but if some of my GPA were getting kind of low on certain things, it would be, like, check in and kind of see what’s going on, do you need other supports.
And so when it came to the financial stuff, I felt very fortunate that I was able to get that, because that’s something that, if I hadn't had it, I would not be in post-secondary education, never mind professional degree like this, if that wasn’t offered to me.
Brad Regehr: Other than the financial aspect, what else did you need to go to law school?
Alyssa Bird: My community friends joke around a lot of times, like, we needed scheduled crying times. [Laughter] I personally would not have survived law school without the supports from my indigenous legal colleagues, who are now my best friends.
That’s [unintelligible 00:14:24], Danielle Morrison and [Val Dick] – because there were other indigenous students with me who were in my – who entered law school at the same time. And if I didn’t have the supports of other indigenous law students at the school, I would have – it would have been a completely different experience.
I would probably just kept to my studies, gone to school, came back and just did my own thing. But having the support of other indigenous people in my year, was a lot of help.
Brad Regehr: So was law school a comfortable place for you?
Alyssa Bird: No. And it was not a comfortable place for a whole bunch of different reasons. Well, then again, I think you brought it up before, of how the economic and class background of a lot of people entering law school, is very much different from your standard indigenous student entering the post-secondary and professional degree.
There are names for students who are second, or third generation lawyers and judges, they're called legacies. And the people who come from that kind of background, are very, very much different than an indigenous student.
So not only is that a student aspect, but also the stuff that is being taught to us. Personally myself, because I grew up very strong and close with my grandparents, and my [unintelligible 00:16:01] Anishinaabe teachings, that I was very aware of what I referred to a lot as indigenous legal traditions.
` And entering into law school, being taught about the common law system and how that structure comes into place in building the Canadian legal system, was really tough, because again, you're hearing constantly, well, this is a rule of law, a rule of law. But that’s still a lot as it benefits Canadians and Canadians - the Canadian colonial system. And that was built on top of – not on top of – it was built disrespecting indigenous legal systems. So that was another real challenging of trying to – not reconcile to, but like, thinking about the systems that are in place and how they're so different.
Brad Regehr: The indigenous legal systems, in my view, form part of the legal fabric of Canada, along the common law and civil law systems. But it’s not a –
Alyssa Bird: I just want to say, it’s not held with the same respect.
Brad Regehr: Robin, I'm going to turn back to you quick. What does Lakehead do specifically for indigenous students to make them feel welcome there?
Robin Sutherland: I think Lakehead does quite a bit, actually, to accommodate indigenous students. For one thing, they have the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, formerly the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives. And under that they have the Indigenous Students Service Centre, formerly the Aboriginal Cultural Support Services.
And through those, the offer a wide variety of programming supports, including academic workshops, presentations, individual supports and counselling, as well as cultural supports, including elders, feasts and other activities. They also assist with funding, helping students apply for scholarships and bursaries.
There’s also a few traditional programs at Lakehead. Currently we have the ITYP – the Indigenous Transitional Youth Program. Formerly it was call the Native Access Program. There’s a new nurses entry program.
Those are all for the main campus. At the law school actually, just this summer we started a new course, a complimentary indigenous summer law course, offered free of charge to all of our incoming indigenous law students.
This was in direct response to the cancellation of the Indigenous Law Centre’s summer program at the University of Saskatchewan, but it’s basically meant to help give our indigenous students a leg up in their first year of law school.
We also have a number of committees at Lakehead that are overseeing various aspects of indigenous studentship. We have the OAGC, which is our Ogimaawin Aboriginal Governance Council. It oversees our – it’s like a board of governors [unintelligible 00:18:53], it’s our third governance branch.
We have the President’s Council on Truth and Reconciliation. Currently that’s run by the Chair of Truth and Reconciliation, Dr Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux. And we’re developing eight modules to be offered to faculty and staff, to increase their cultural awareness and sensitivity.
There’s also the President’s Task, or the [unintelligible 00:19:17] Task Force on Indigenous Content Requirement. So at Lakehead we do have the indigenous content requirement that all students at Lakehead are required to complete.
That looks different at different universities, but at Lakehead, students currently need to complete eighteen hours of Type E courses, which are courses that have indigenous content embedded through those courses.
We also have a Food Security Committee and Anti-racism Committee, lots of different structures that are meant to support and help our students feel comfortable at Lakehead.
There’s also our academic and strategic plan, which infuses indigenous content and perspectives throughout those plans, throughout each of our pillars.
I want to jump back to something that Alyssa referred to, is that the stigma around funding, even around supports, services and programs. I mentioned the Indigenous Law Centre’s summer program at Saskatchewan, and there’s been stigma around students that go through that program.
Alyssa Bird: Oh, yeah.
Robin Sutherland: I think that in general, anytime we try and offer our students some sort of assistance and a leg up, it seems to be stigmatised, and it really shouldn’t be. There reasons that we are offering support, is because of all these colonial factors that we’ve mentioned, that we are kind of a step back, we might say.
And it’s just meant to put us on an equitable playing field. Maybe not an equal, but an equitable playing field.
Brad Regehr: Alyssa, I heard you agree with Robin’s statement. Do you want to add anything to that?
Alyssa Bird: It’s just that, not only for myself and the [unintelligible 00:20:55] for my year, but it’s something that unfortunately, in this day and age, that indigenous students are still hearing in the halls of law school, of why is there an indigenous consideration category for admissions? That spot can be given to somebody who actually deserves it.
Or, why are indigenous people being able to get exemptions of programs, like, the legal centre that’s in Saskatchewan, when it was still going. Those comments still happen. Comments are made from professors and instructors that echo that type of stigma of, oh, because you're indigenous, you get that, and that’s unfair.
To me it was shocking, as an indigenous law student, because we’re supposed to be in a professional collegial program, and to have people who are leading things and people who are going to go on to be my colleagues in the practice, have these [unintelligible 00:22:02] still.
And more so the reason why it’s important to keep pushing on indigenous initiatives like training and providing supports, because hearing those types of comments and experiencing those kinds of things within law schools and within legal practices, is – just further isolates indigenous bar members and indigenous students.
So it’s important work, the work that Robin is doing, and making sure that we do feel like we belong in these spaces.
Brad Regehr: I mean, it’s disappointing for me to hear that, because I remember hearing those things in the early nineties when I went to law school, those comments being made.
So does that make having an indigenous law students association necessary for students who are going to through law school?
Alyssa Bird: 100%, because what I think indigenous law students associations do, obviously, is making sure that there is an organised voice within the law school. Besides that, there’s also the association trust to build a community amongst the law students there, so again, it’s not so isolating.
So yeah, in my first year at university, I was the first year rep at the [MILSA]. It’s now called the Manitoba Indigenous Law Students Association. Second year I was the “president” and then the last year, I was in charge of [unintelligible 00:23:40].
In my experience there, in my short three years, our association did a lot of work to try and continue to push faculty and administration to recognise that there are issues in the law school still. And we were trying to work with the faculty members to – on different solutions to try and address that.
One of them was trying to find a designated space within the law school for MILSA to have more stronger incorporation of indigenous content. We actually were trying to get them to make a mandatory course – or a mandatory something, but that’s still kind of in the work, I guess, when the other – the new incoming MILSA members –
And yeah, it’s just interesting to hear from you, Brad, that the conversations were also happening in the nineties and it’s still an ongoing thing.
Brad Regehr: I was there so long ago that we didn’t call it MILSA, we called it MULSA. Robin, I’d like to hear our perspective on – is it necessary to have an indigenous law students association? Is there one at Lakehead?
Robin Sutherland: Yes, we do have one, and I do think it’s very important for every law school to have one. Yeah, we do have an indigenous law students association. We also, I think, I believe [unintelligible 00:25:10] could analyse in that group as well.
But as Alyssa pointed out, I think definitely the space is very important, which we do have at Lakehead. Actually, we have more than one designated space for indigenous students. Indigenous students have their own lounge.
We also have a restorative justice room at our law school, as well as an aboriginal law classroom. In fact, I think [unintelligible 00:25:28] is actually kind of our indigenous space with different paintings and features that really help indigenise the space at our law school. I think that’s important, to indigenise the space.
Brad Regehr: What kind of programs do we need to put into place to help indigenous youth see post-secondary education, including law school, as an option?
Robin Sutherland: Yeah, great question. I think there is a – again, many programs that I’ve mentioned already, those academic, cultural, financial, individual support programs. Again, that holistic approach is important, you need to focus on the individual and find out what they need specifically, and then set them up with those programs that are available to them.
I think recruitment in terms of law schools and in general, undergraduate education is important. At Lakehead, at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, I do my [unintelligible 00:26:14] out to elementary schools, because again, growing up, law school was not an option for me, I didn’t even consider it. I don’t think many indigenous youth do.
So I try and make them see that that is an option. I let them know how to get there, the steps that you need to take, that when you break it down, it doesn’t seem that complicated, it doesn’t seem unreachable.
I think we also need – what’s very important for indigenous people is that in-person contact, and that land-based education, which is a lot more difficult in this current COVID environment. But I think we do need that connection to each other and to the land. It really does enhance our educational outcomes.
Brad Regehr: Alyssa, can you name any supports you think indigenous students need for post-secondary education?
Alyssa Bird: Okay, I would just think of the stuff that would help me, and I would echo the same thing to law students coming out [unintelligible words 00:27:08] and then would always encourage the student to find the things that help ground you. Because when you enter into an institution like law school, things are going to flying so fast.
And because with it being in my content for – like, it’s difficult to kind of grasp on sometime again. So when it’s something that’s essentially so foreign to you, especially – and not only the content of the things you're being taught in classrooms, but also the whole new networking and entering into a professional field, where there’s all these connections are really made sometimes. And it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed.
So it’s finding things that ground you, things that are going to keep you sane. Also finding your community, and that can look however it feels comfortable to you. Because that’s going to be part of that support system that helps ground you, to help you survive through the process of law school.
Brad Regehr: Can you tell me about the work you did as program director for Level’s Indigenous Youth Outreach Program?
Alyssa Bird: Yes. Yeah, I heard a bit of some of the stuff that Robin had stated earlier, and one of the things that really connected with what a Level tried to do with that – IYOP, it’s called – is creating that mentor and mentee relationship.
So what the indigenous youth outreach program is, is an opportunity for law students, practicing lawyers, to go into a grade seven or eight class, and teaching them kind of the fundamentals of criminal law.
We work with students to get them prepared to participate in a [unintelligible 00:28:56] court. And also do a bit of – like, we started with justice teaching and teaching indigenous legal concepts on a very basic level.
So my first year, I was just a mentor myself, second year I was a coordinator, and just last year, I guess before kind of the COVID restrictions started to hit, I was returning as an [unintelligible 00:29:23] student mentor.
That was the whole point of doing this outreach program, is being able to start building those connections with students from such a young age. And not only from law students to middle school students, but also potentially between the [unintelligible 00:29:42] your practicing students with law students as well.
Brad Regehr: That sounds like a great program. Unfortunately – I’d love if we could keep talking, but I'm going to have to wrap it up, right. I'm just going to ask, is there anything either of you would like to add or say? I’ll start with Robin.
Robin Sutherland: There's a couple of things. I just wanted to, I guess, move on with the supports. I think one of the biggest supports that I want to reiterate, that Alyssa did mention, is that peer support. I mentioned family support, but I think the support of peers is super-important. I’ve seen that at the law school at Lakehead.
Because we’re such a small faculty – we admit sixty five students per year – the students really form a tight-knit, close community. And they really do rely on each other for a lot of support. I find that it gets them through a lot of challenges that they might not even bring to me or my colleagues at the law school.
So I think peer support, again, right through the community of law school, or through a larger indigenous community, like the Indigenous Bar Association does a great job of connecting indigenous students with each other.
Again, back to the, I guess, legacy of the residential school. I do want to make one point about that as well. We mentioned the varying impacts on communities and families. I want to give one example of my family.
My mother and her two brothers both – they all attended St Anne’s in Fort Albany. It was one of the notoriously worst schools in Canada. And they all have been affected in different ways.
One of them is living a very professional life, despite other issues with alcohol and substances. And one, on the other type of spectrum is, I think, the most affected, struggling to live a normal life, going in and out of jail, dealing with heavy substance and alcohol issues.
And another is kind of maybe further on his healing path. He’s kind of gone to the – [unintelligible words 00:31:38] through the land and its traditions, has [unintelligible 00:31:40] beautiful side of himself. I think that is kind of the key to his success in dealing with a that legacy of residential schools. So working on yourself, taking care of yourself before you can take care of others.
I think that’s true in the legal profession as well; you need to pay attention to yourself and take care of yourself before you can hope to help others. And so I’ll leave that thought with everyone. Miigwetch.
Brad Regehr: Thanks Robin. Alyssa, anything you want to add?
Alyssa Bird: Yeah, that’s really nice words that you shared, Robin, thank you for that. As I, again, [unintelligible words 00:32:14] some of that special time being a second generation residential school survivor myself, with my grandparents and this other relative. I believe that we’re entering – not entering – I tend to see a change in a lot of the legal profession’s approach to issues related to the call to actions, and just an overall general kind of opening their eyes a little bit more to the issues around racism and all those types of things.
And so what I'm experiencing and have been experiencing and kind of further promote, has been working with people within the legal system to do better and know better. And sharing my experiences with people on a one-to-one basis, or working with administration, with the Law Society, or the law school, when I was there on, again, what the realities are as an indigenous person going through law school and the legal profession.
And it’s challenging work, because not only are we expected to hold a high degree of professionalism and learn the law and serve our clients well, and going through all that, the normal processes of becoming a lawyer, but we have this additional emotional and mental labour that we have to do in terms of being the indigenous person that is almost facing this mountain of – we need the changes, so we need to change it quick and fast.
And because being leaders in the legal field here, it’s overwhelming sometimes, and it’s something that’s important to keep in mind when you're here, reaching out to indigenous colleagues, or just people that you know. Because not only are we dealing with the day-to-day life of the practice alone, but also remembering the impacts of the news that happens every single day, it seems like, sometimes.
So yeah, it’s important to do that self-care and to make sure that – recognise that you're indigenous colleagues might be going through some rough times. Be there and add some supports, and do what you can to help.
Brad Regehr: I couldn’t agree more with both of you. Unfortunately we have to wrap it up for today. I think we probably could have talked for a few more hours.
And I want to thank both of you for sharing with me today. I know sometimes it can be difficult doing that, but you made my job really easy, so I really want to thank both of you for joining me today.
Robin Sutherland: This has been a great experience for me too. Miigwetch.
Alyssa Bird: Oh, thanks for inviting me.
Brad Regehr: I’ve been talking with Alyssa Bird, a young lawyer with Evans Family Law in Winnipeg, and Robin Sutherland, the Director of Indigenous Relations at Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.
Ekosi, merci, thank you. We want to hear your stories about your experience as an indigenous person with the legal profession, as a practitioner, as a student and as an academic. You can let us know on Twitter, by going to @CBA_news, or on Facebook and Instagram, by going to @canadian bar association.
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Thank you, everyone, for listening.