The Allard School of Law is a leader in Indigenous legal education in North America. Hundreds of Aboriginal students have graduated from the Faculty since Alfred Scow (Kwicksutaineuk Nation, LLB 1961, LLD 1997) led the way. Dr. Scow was the first Aboriginal person from British Columbia to earn a Bachelor of Laws, practice law and receive a judicial appointment. Dr. Scow is widely celebrated for performing a major role in educating non-Aboriginal people about the legal, cultural, social and historical issues facing Aboriginal peoples.
The Faculty is committed to the promotion of understanding of Indigenous legal issues and the education of lawyers and jurists in the nature of the relationship between Canadian society and Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous Legal Studies Program recruits and supports Aboriginal law students, promotes the development of courses in Aboriginal and Indigenous law, conducts research (in partnership with Indigenous peoples and nations), oversees the provision of legal assistance to Aboriginal peoples through its clinic in the Downtown Eastside, and generally fosters greater understanding of the place of Indigenous peoples in Canadian society and abroad.
The Indigenous Classroom was created as a space that fosters respect for Indigenous legal traditions; Indigenous knowledge mobilization, transmission and acquisition; and comparative discourses in law. It also marks a commitment to a diverse law community that honours Indigenous law students, faculty, staff and alumni presence and participation in the law school.