Dr. Valarie Waboose, member of the Walpole Island First Nation, joins NSRLP Advisory BoardNSRLP
Recently appointed to the faculty at Windsor Law, Valarie Waboose has accepted an invitation to become a member of the NSRLP Advisory Board. The Advisory Board helps to set NSRLP’s strategies and priorities, and Board members make substantial individual contributions to our work. The Board decided at its last meeting that our 2016 strategic planning needed to include a focus on the particular needs and interests of First Nations Canadians as SRLs, given the dearth of data on access to justice for aboriginal people in Canada (they were significantly underrepresented in the original National Study). There is a growing awareness of historical wrongs and special issues for this community following the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report last year.
Valarie is a member of the Walpole Island First Nation, where she served as counsel to the Band Council for five years. Her law degree is from Windsor and she has a masters in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall. Val recently completed a doctorate at Trent University on the trauma of the residential school experience and the legal compensation processes. For the past two years, she has been the Ianni Scholar-in -Residence at Windsor Law where she co-chairs the faculty/student TRC Committee.
With a long history of service in her community, Valarie is especially concerned with how lack of legal representation is impacting Access to Justice for First Nations people in child welfare cases, as well as in a range of other legal matters. She points out that for residential school survivors, any contact with an “authority” figure seen as part of the “establishment” can be an intimidating and disempowering experience, whether this person is a judge, a lawyer or even a caseworker. Valarie also questions the assumption that people in her community are equally comfortable with the way the formal rights-based system handles conflicts, which downplays the importance of peace and harmony in small close-knit communities.
We are thrilled that Valarie will be joining the NSRLP Board and hope to feature her as a guest blogger in the next few months.