KawaMootLogoAnni! The University of Toronto Faculty of Law is excited to host the 2014 Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot.

This year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of the Kawaskimhon Moot. The first Moot took place at the University of Toronto in 1994. Jean Teillet, who was a student in the Faculty of Law at the time, led the charge with the assistance of professors and fellow classmates to host a moot that focused on Indigenous issues. With strong support of Justice Robert Sharpe, then Dean of the Faculty of Law, the law school hosted the inaugural Kawaskimhon Moot.  The moot focused on the case of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010, which was being heard at the Supreme Court of Canada. Students from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School participated under the volunteer judgeship of Justice Sharpe, Justice Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and Joseph Arvay. 

The Kawaskimhon (which means “speaking with knowledge”) Moot has grown exponentially since its small but significant start – it now involves law students from almost every law school in Canada, and has been hosted at several different schools across the country.

The 2014 Moot will take place a the University of Toronto Faculty of Law starting with a gala reception to honor those involved with the inaugural moot and to welcome the participants on Thursday, March 6, 2014. The circle negotiations will take place from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Moot Format

The early versions of the Kawaskimhon moot were very similar in style to other moots, and were adversarial in approach.  As the years have passed, the format has evolved. Today, the Kawaskimhon Moot is non-competitive and designed to incorporate Indigenous values and concepts of dispute resolution. In recent years, the Moot has used a talking circle style in an effort to facilitate consensus building.  Law schools from across Canada represent various interested parties and are required to prepare written arguments and give oral presentations on matters arising out of the moot problem. Each law school represents one or two parties participating in the negotiations. Participants present their client’s positions to their circles and volunteer facilitators sit in the circle and gently guide the discussions, with the goal being to reach a consensus on the issues at stake.  The format continues to evolve with the tone and style being set each year by the host school.

Back to Top

2014 Moot Problem

“Northern Province” is home to a number of small First Nation communities.  There are almost no non-First Nation residents in these communities, and virtually no presence of Federal or Provincial authorities, agencies or institutions.  The same language has been heard ringing through the forests since time immemorial, and even today, relatively few people speak English as a first language.There are no roads connecting the northern communities to the south and only a patchwork of seasonal and all weather roads between some northern communities. Access to the communities is by ice road in the winter, barge to some communities in the summer, and weather permitting, year round access by air.  Treaties were signed with the Crown in the years around 1905, and the written text of these treaties ground the Crown’s claim that all the land in Northern Province has been ceded to the Crown.  No one living in the northern community believes these claims because their oral history asserts that the land was never surrendered, and in any event, there is no evidence of Crown control of the land even in the present day.  The watersheds and forests are pristine.  There is no industrial development in the area of any kind, and there never has been.

The communities in the area are small, and they suffer from many of the issues familiar to northern First Nation communities: food is too expensive, water treatment systems are old and prone to failure, there is a shortage of housing, there are no high schools, and there are issues regarding access to health care, policing, and some community members suffer from addiction.  Youth suicides are shockingly common in comparison to southern communities.  But despite all that, many people in the northern communities understand themselves to live in the best place on earth.  There are good relationships between the communities, with ties of kinship, marriage, and clan identity. 

In recent years, enterprising geologists have discovered an enormous wealth of rare earth minerals and this has triggered a staking rush by prospectors.  A large Canadian mining company has made clear its intention to mine a large claim that would make the company’s stock holders very, very rich.  While there was a great deal of resistance to the project in the early days, the company has committed to only engaging in a process that would deliver the very highest possible environmental standards in both the mining and the remediation of the mine site after its expected ten year life span.  Issues remain about oversight of that process, but after a long series of many meetings, the communities most affected by the mine site have agreed to enter into negotiations with the resource company and the province to reach a deal that satisfies the interests and legal obligations of all parties.   The Province is also eager to see the deal move ahead both because it regards the mine as an economic development project for local First Nations, and because the Province desperately needs the royalty revenues the mine will generate.  There are also political issues regarding a large international environmental organization that has been lobbying among the various First Nations, the province and the resource company.  The environmental organization is not a party to these negotiations, though their views may have to be taken into account during the negotiations.

The details of your party’s requirements for a deal are outlined in your mandate letter.  The letter sets out a range of acceptable outcomes.  Without securing these outcomes in the range outlined in the letter you cannot agree to a deal on behalf of your client.  The mine cannot proceed unless all parties are satisfied and can agree to the terms of the Impact Benefit Agreement with the mine, and other political and territorial issues that must be agreed to with the Province.  You must negotiate within the contours of your mandate letter, and where there is flexibility, you must seek to not only protect your client’s interests, you must secure the best deal possible for your client.  It is possible that you may receive new instructions from your client during the course of negotiations.  If you refuse to negotiate with reference to the terms set out in your mandate letter, your client will no longer retain your services, and you will be asked to leave the negotiating table.

If your table is able to reach a deal on the financial arrangements with the resource company, and the jurisdiction and territorial agreements with the Province, you must then also develop a plan (in general terms) about how to vary the terms of your agreements in the event that the price of the resource sky-rockets in value, and alternately, if the price of the resource drops well below its current valuation.

NOTE: Individual team mandates will be provided directly to each team’s coaches and will not be published on this site. Details of the required written submissions will also be provided to team coaches.

Table Assignments


Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Iskotew First Nation (Cree for “Fire”)

Sask 1

Sask  2


C’a:nu First Nation (Haida for “Fire”)




Istci First Nation (Blackfoot for “Fire”)

Toronto 1

Toronto 2


Sisuei First Nation (Mi’kmaq for “Fire”)




Kún First Nation (Dene for “Fire”)

Alberta 1

Alberta 2


Huýqw First Nation (Coast Salish [Hul'qumi'num dialect] word for “Fire”)




Northern Province

Osgoode 1

Osgoode 2


Resource Co

Ottawa 1

Ottawa 2


Back to Top

Schedule Details





Thursday March 6

6.30pm – 9.30pm

Oro Restaurant

45 Elm Street, Toronto

*Dress Code: Business/Semi Formal (suits, cocktail dresses, etc.)

Kawaskimhon 20th Anniversary Gala Ceremony

  • Dean Mayo Moran, Faculty of Law
  • Chief Bryan LaForme, Mississaugas of the New Credit
  • Thomas Conway, Treasurer, Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Cat Criger, Dan Smoke, Mary Lou Smoke, Traditional Elders
  • Jean Teillet, Pape Salter Teillet
  • Dianne Corbiere, Nahwegahbow Corbiere
  • Justice Harry LaForme, Ontario Court of Appeal
  • Douglas Sanderson, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law

Friday, March 7

9.00am – 9.30am

Falconer Hall 

Registration and Breakfast

9.30am – 11.00am


(Falconer Hall)

Opening and Traditional Teaching – Respectful Engagement

  • Dan Smoke, Traditional Elder
  • Mary Lou Smoke, Traditional Elder
  • Cat Criger, Traditional Elder

11.00am - 11.15am

Falconer Hall


11.15am – 12.30pm

FA1, FA2, FA3

Circle Negotiations


12.30pm – 2.00pm


(Falconer Hall)

Lunch and the Feasting of the Kawaskimhon Bundle


1.30pm  – 3.30pm


FA1, FA2, FA3

Circle Negotiations


3.30pm – 3.45pm

Falconer Hall


3.45pm – 6.00pm

FA1, FA2, FA3

Circle Negotiations


Saturday, March 8

9.00am – 10.00am

Falconer Hall


10.00am – 12.00pm

FA1, FA2, FA3

Circle Negotiations


12.00pm – 1.00pm

Falconer Hall


1.00pm – 3.00pm

FA1, FA2, FA3

Circle Negotiations


3.00pm – 3.15pm

Falconer Hall


3.15pm – 5.15pm

FA1, FA2, FA3

Circle Negotiations


Sunday, March 9

9.00am – 10.00am

Falconer Hall


10.00am – 11.00am

FA1, FA2, FA3

Final Negotiations


11.00am – 1.00pm


(Falconer Hall)

Closing Plenary (Whole Group)


Falconer Hall


  • Grab & Go option for those who are travelling

Back to Top


Mark “Cat” Criger

Cat Criger is an Aboriginal Elder, Traditional Teacher and Mentor from the First Nations People. He is Cayuga (Guyohkohnyoh), Turtle Clan from the Six Nations Haudenosaunee or People of the Longhouse. Cat has been working as a Traditional Teacher and Healer for more than 20 years in the Native and multi-cultural community in Canada, the USA, England and Wales. He was taught in the old way, working for many years with the guidance of an Aniishnawbe Elder (Zaawawagaabo) and other First Nations Elders in Canada and the USA, and was taught to do traditional ceremonies, teachings, circles, one to one work and to help all people to 'walk in a good way' though life. Cat will conduct opening and closing ceremonies, and will be on site throughout the duration of the Moot to provide cultural support.

Dan Smoke

Dan Smoke is a member of the Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Originally from the Six Nations Reserve, Grand River Territory, Dan has been gifted with extensive traditional knowledge and teachings. He is of the Kildeer Clan and is a lifetime member of the Onondaga Longhouse.

Mary Lou Smoke

Mary Lou is Ojibway from Blind River, Ontario. She shares the songs of the Sweat Lodge with Native women based on the teachings gathered from visiting many lodges. She has been honoured with requests to help with many ceremonies throughout the years.

Back to Top


Each of the negotiation circles will be led by a facilitator, who will guide discussion and assist the parties on reaching an agreement. The Faculty is pleased to have Maggie Wente, Scott Robertson and Grant Wedge act as facilitators for the 2014 Moot.

Maggie Wente, Partner, Olthius Kleer Townshend

Maggie is a member of Serpent River First Nation. She advises First Nations and Aboriginal organizations on employment and labour issues, construction law and housing, and on the Indian Act. She works on a variety of civil litigation matters, including Aboriginal and treaty rights litigation. Maggie advises on the duty to consult and accommodate, and negotiation of impacts and benefits agreements.  She also provides advice to corporations and non-profit organizations.

Before joining OKT, she practiced human rights, employment and labour law in Toronto and also worked for a trade union litigating grievance arbitration hearings. Maggie is President of the Board of Directors at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto. She became a Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2006. Maggie is a member of the Ontario bar, the Indigenous Bar Association and Rotiio>taties Aboriginal Advisory Group.

Scott Robertson, Associate, Nahwegahbow, Corbiere

Scott Robertson is an associate in the law firm of Nahwegahbow, Corbiere practicing exclusively in the area of Aboriginal Law.

Scott is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River and has considerable insight into the growing economic needs of First Nation communities, businesses and organizations. Scott is regularly called upon to assist First Nations in negotiations with private and public interest groups to develop innovative economic growth strategies which incorporate First Nation traditions and knowledge.

Scott is a skillful advocate who has represented First Nation clients before the Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court, Ontario Court of Appeal, Ontario Energy Board, National Energy Board, Ontario Superior Court and the Human Rights Commission.  Scott has dedicated his practice to improving the quality of life, wealth and prosperity for First Nations communities while preserving the unique identity of Canada’s original inhabitants.  

Grant Wedge, Executive Director, Strategic Policy, Communications and Corporate Relations, Law Society of Upper Canada

Grant has over 30 years of experience working on Aboriginal issues with the Governments of Ontario, Canada and Aboriginal organizations.  In the early 80’s, he worked for Grand Council Treaty #3, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Indian Commission of Ontario.  He was with Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell, 1988-1990.  He was employed with Ontario from 1990 to 1995, starting as Chief of Staff for the Minister of Natural Resources and Native Affairs, the ADM of Self-Government and Land Claims Negotiations, then Deputy Minister of Native Affairs in 1994-95.  He was the Associate Executive Director of Aboriginal Business Canada, with Industry Canada 1995 – 1999.  He had an active consulting and mediation practice, which includes the Caledonia dispute in April-June 2006.  In June 2006, he returned to work with Ontario at the Crown Law Office Civil.  He became the Aboriginal Affairs Legal Director in December 2006, a position that he held until he joined the Law Society in 2014.  He has a Hon B.A. from Brock University (1975), a Masters from York University (1977), an LL.B. from University of Toronto Law School (1986), a Advocates Society/Harvard-recognized Certificate in Mediation (1998) and he was called to the Ontario Bar in 1988.  He was a founding member of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.  In June 2012, Grant received the MAA Deputy Minister’s award for Outstanding Achievement 2011-12.

Back to Top


The Faculty of Law wishes to extend our deepest gratitude to our lead sponsor, Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, and also to the Law Society of Upper Canada's Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee for their generous support. 

OKT Logo


Law Society Logo




Back to Top

Hotel Accommodations

A limited number of rooms have been reserved at a special rate from March 6 to March 8 inclusive for attendees of the Kawaskimhon Moot at the DoubleTree by Hilton Toronto Downtown, located two subway stops away from the Faculty of Law (approximately 20 minutes by foot).

A rate of $129.00 plus taxes have been arranged for a block of double occupancy queen rooms and single occupancy king rooms. This rate is available until February 7, 2014, and can be confirmed by phone, fax or email as follows:

Direct Line          416-599-0555
Toll-free               800-668-6600
Fax                       416-597-6351
Email                   reservations@torontodoubletree.com

When making reservations, please refer to the “Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot Booking” in order to take advantage of the group rate. Credit card information is required to guarantee the reservation.

Alternate Hotel Suggestions

There are several alternate hotel options in close proximity to the Faculty of Law. Just  few options include:

Back to Top