RELAW Community Call-Out 2017-2018
RELAW is a project of West Coast Environmental Law supported and advised by the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law. The RELAW project aims to deepen community-based capacity to engage in revitalization and application of Indigenous law to environmental decision-making and proactive land and water management.
In 2016, our first RELAW cohort, involving six Indigenous nations from around the province, began working on projects unique to their communities. For example, one nation is developing its own environmental assessment process, another is working on a marine use plan, and others are preparing water policies grounded in their own legal traditions.
We are now seeking expressions of interest from Indigenous nations to be part of our second RELAW cohort. This project will be of particular interest to nations who have previously undertaken Indigenous law research on land and resources using ILRU methodology (or other similar methodologies) and who wish to explore approaches for applying this research to environmental decision-making and land and resource management in their territories. We also have a limited number of spaces for nations who may not yet have completed a research phase and wish to do so.
Through the RELAW project, these nations will have the opportunity to work with community researchers and project lawyersto develop a written summary of legal principles related to environmental governance and land and resources for use by the nation. By facilitating community dialogue and engaging with the stories and traditions of their nations, participants draw out legal principles that can be applied to the environmental problems they are facing today.
In addition to training opportunities, community-based researchers and facilitators from participating nations will have the opportunity to work together with a team of lawyers in an ‘on-the-ground’ practicum applying their laws to a particular environmental issue of concern. The practicum may involve the development of a contemporary Indigenous law instrument (like a written policy, standard or plan) to address the situation. The project will run for one year commencing in late June 2017.
What do you need to do to be considered?
Answer the questions in the “Expression of Interest” form (available below) to see if your nation fits the criteria. Then tell us, in your own words and in one page or less, about your nation’s commitment to applying your laws to environmental decision-making and land and resource management, and why your nation should be involved in the RELAW project.
Please email your application to Maxine_Matilpi@wcel.org before March 17, 2017.
The ILRU methodology is an approach to systematically accessing principles of Indigenous law through analysis of many traditional narratives (stories) and other sources related to a research question identified by an Indigenous community; using interviews and small group discussions to workshop learnings from the stories with knowledge holders and community members, and synthesizing these into a summary of substantive and procedural legal principles related to the research question.