Aboriginal & Indigenous

Aboriginal law refers to Canadian law as it pertains to Indigenous  people,  while  Indigenous  law encompasses the traditional legal systems developed by and for Indigenous communities. Careers in these areas intersect with constitutional, criminal, civil, environmental, and other areas of law, and include work for Indigenous individuals and communities, not-for-profit organizations, boutique law firms and government entities. We have courses, externships/practicums, cultural events, and student organizations to explore. See our Public Interest, Public Sector, & Human Rights page for additional suggestions on how to explore your interest in this area.
 

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What courses can I take?

Courses to consider in the upper years*

  • Indigenous Legal Traditions and the Imperial Response
  • Indigenous People and the Canadian Courts: Advocacy, Evidentiary and Ethical Issues
  • Issues in Aboriginal Law and Policy
  • Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law
  • Aboriginal Law Practicum

*Not all courses are offered in each academic year. Please consult the Course Calendar and Upper Year Courses by Subject Area resources.

 

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How can I get hands-on experience?

Experiential opportunities

  • Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto Externship
  • Indigenous Law in Context (4 day non-credit course) at Cape Croker Indian Reservation
  • Indigenous Law Journal
  • Kawaskimhon Moot
 

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How else can I get involved?

Community/volunteer

  • Indigenous Initiatives Office events, including Speaker Series
  • Indigenous alumni mentor program for Indigenous students
  • Indigenous Law Students’ Association
  • Aboriginal Law Society
  • The KAIROS Blanket Exercise
  • The Reconciliation Resolution Challenge
  • Indigenous Bar Association Conference
 

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How can I connect with employers?

Work and networking ideas

Networking opportunities

  • Informational interviews (go to UTLC > Resource Library > Interviews for guidance)
  • Events hosted by Indigenous Law Students’ Association and Aboriginal Law Society
  • Events hosts by professional associations such as the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association
  • Lawyers Doing Cool Things

Fellowships & internships

Paid fellowship placements are available through:

  • The June Callwood Program in Aboriginal Law (for Indigenous students)
  • The Tuohy Fellowship in Indigenous Governance
  • Debwewin Summer Law Program

Paid opportunities

Employers offering paid summer and articling opportunities in this area include:

  • Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
  • Department of Justice
  • Ministry of the Attorney General Aboriginal Law Summer Student Program
  • Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
  • Olthius Kleer Townshend LLP
  • Pape Salter Teillet LLP
 

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What resources can I look at?

Online career resources and events

The following resources are available to current UofT Law students and alumni through UTLC:

  • Guide: Pathways to a Career in Aboriginal Law
  • General Articling Guide
  • Government Interview and Information Guide
  • Recruitment Guides: Students can find recruitment guides on UTLC listing positions for 1L summer, 2L summer and articling recruitment cycles for a range of legal markets
  • Upper Year Student Directory to network with students who have worked in the area of Aboriginal law

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