Osgoode Hall Law School establishes Reconciliation Fund for Indigenous initiatives


TORONTO, Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Osgoode Hall Law School of York University today announced specific actions that it will take to meet the urgent need of Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples envisioned by the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Osgoode’s enhanced commitment to Reconciliation, which has been identified as a top priority in the Law School’s 2017-2020 Access Osgoode strategic plan, will involve the establishment of a Reconciliation Fund that will have an initial investment of $300,000 over the next three years.

The Reconciliation Fund will provide support for the following Indigenous initiatives at Osgoode:

  • Three years of annual funding for the Anishinaabe Law Camp held each September at Neyaashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) in collaboration with the Chippewas of Nawash and the Debwewin Summer Internship program in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.
  • Establishment of Osgoode's first Office of Indigenous and Reconciliation Initiatives.
  • Strengthening and deepening ties with Indigenous communities by bringing Elders in Residence to Osgoode, as well as other experts and guests from Indigenous communities for Osgoode events, courses and programs.
  • Programming in Skennen’kó:wa Gamig (formerly Hart House) as a centre for Indigenous community life at York University and other pan-University collaborations.
  • Augmenting available funding sources for Osgoode Indigenous students.
  • Enhancing the Indigenization of Osgoode’s curriculum, as well as research projects, exhibits and collaborations that enrich study and knowledge about Indigenous law and legal issues. (This builds on the success of Osgoode’s Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources & Governments as one of North America’s premier experiential programs exploring legal issues relating to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous rights. The program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.)

“Osgoode’s commitment to Reconciliation builds upon our past initiatives and reflects our shared goal for the Law School to play a leadership role among Canadian law schools in engaging with Indigenous communities, students and scholars and ensuring that our curriculum reflects Indigenous legal traditions and Indigenous justice issues,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin. “We want to make meaningful and lasting contributions as a law school to the larger Canadian imperative of Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”

The announcement of the Reconciliation Fund was made at the opening today of Skennen’kó:wa Gamig as a reimagined ceremonial and community space for indigenous community members at York. The historic building is located in a wooded area beside Osgoode and will be the venue for the Law School’s Honour Ceremony on June 23 for graduating Indigenous students and their families. Later that day, Cindy Blackstock, a Gitxsan activist for child welfare and Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, will be awarded an honorary degree at Osgoode Convocation.


Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has a rich history of developing Canada's thought leaders and leading lawyers. Dedicated to the pursuit of new ideas and to the very best of experiential education, Osgoode sets the standards for accessible, relevant and rigorous legal education. Osgoode offers a Juris Doctor (JD) Program, the Graduate Program in Law for research-focused LLM and PhD degrees, as well as professional LLM degrees and non-degree certificates and programs as part of Osgoode Professional Development. Osgoode is home to an outstanding and diverse student body, and an internationally renowned faculty, whose research shapes the public debate. Our commitment to accessibility and inclusion, community engagement and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, as well as innovative, high-quality research and teaching, animates who we are and what we do.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contacts: Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22097, sandramc@yorku.ca