Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario has appointed Angelique Eaglewoman, a Native American Indian from South Dakota, to lead the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. She starts in May, a month before the new law school’s first class is set to graduate. The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law opened in the fall of 2013, making it Canada’s newest law school.
Ms. Eaglewoman served as General Counsel for her own people, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (one of the Dakota Nations), and has also served as a Tribal Judge in four Tribal Court systems. She will leave her current position as a law professor and legal scholar at the University of Idaho College of Law and take over the university position from the school’s first dean Lee Stuesser, who resigned in 2015.
“Angelique was at the top of our list,” said Lakehead Provost and Vice-President of Academics Dr. Moira McPherson,” and we are thrilled she’s coming to Lakehead. Her diverse experience and knowledge will be of great benefit to our students in the Faculty of Law and to Ontario when those students begin practicing law.”
Eaglewoman said she was drawn in part by Lakehead’s mandatory first and second-year courses in Aboriginal law. That requirement aligns with the recommendations of the final 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which calls for all law students to take courses in Aboriginal peoples and the law, including the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system. The TRC recommendations aim to ensure “that this next generation of lawyers would know what the history is and what the legal relationship is between the Canadian federal and provincial governments and indigenous communities,” Eaglewoman said in a CP interview. “Our graduates will know that history, will know those legal relationships, and then they can go out and they can help with the new collaboration, the new reconciliation.”
Eaglewoman has taught in the areas of Native American natural resources law and tribal nation economics and law, and has published articles about tribal economics and quality of life for Indigenous peoples. “This position is a dream come true for me because of the Faculty of Law’s commitment to produce lawyers for rural and small town legal practice, the focus on natural resources and environmental law, and the required curriculum on aspects of Aboriginal and indigenous law,” said Eaglewoman. “With my background, I feel especially suited to be at the helm of the law school as it moves from its start-up phase to taking its place among other distinguished law schools in Ontario and nationally.”