May 02, 2013
Graphic novel explores Indigenous law
A new graphic novel created by the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Law Research Clinic and drawing on work with seven different legal orders across Canada will help empower Indigenous communities as well as educate and engage legal practitioners about the complexity and legitimacy of Indigenous law.
“We’re looking to demonstrate Indigenous law’s complexity in a way that is accessible, but also sophisticated enough that it’s useful,” says law professor Val Napoleon, who led the project.
Indigenous legal orders are living traditions of law that enable Indigenous societies to manage themselves as self-governing and self-determining peoples.
The new graphic novel, a composite of true situations, is the tale of a Cree man sentenced to death by a 19th-century Alberta court after carrying out an execution ordered by his Cree community. A contingent of Indigenous lawyers travels back in time to intervene and apply aspects of Indigenous law not originally presented. The court finds the accused not guilty.
The launch party for Cree Law: Mikomosis and the Wetiko takes place May 6 from 12 to 2 p.m. in UVic’s Fraser (law) building, and will feature the writing, research and illustrative team—including noted TV screenwriter Jim Henshaw and renowned comic artist Ken Steacy—as well as the original artwork and 50 copies of the new book.
The project, led by Prof. Napoleon and UVic alumnae Hadley Friedland, was sponsored by the UVic clinic, the Indigenous Bar Association and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, with funding from the Ontario Law Foundation.
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