Field Visits and Beyond the Classroom
Cknúcwentn First Nations Court
Cknúcwentn First Nations Court is a sentencing court that commenced sitting in March 2013 at the Kamloops Law Courts. It is held once a month on Fridays and is open to all those who claim Aboriginal ancestry. Cknúcwentn First Nations Court is also open to the public to observe. It is a problem-solving court that uses a restorative justice approach to sentencing and the involvement of the Cknúcwentn Elders Council. The Indigenous Law Students Association at TRU typically coordinates a visit to the Cknúcwentn First Nations Court during the winter semester for interested law students. Students learn about the inner workings of this new legal process and how it is accepting of Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being.
As part of their Criminal Law class, all first-year law students are required to attend at least two court sessions, one of which must be a sitting of the Provincial Court - Criminal Division (Remand Court). Students must then write a journal entry detailing their visits, and critically reflect on their observations. This experience provides students with the opportunity to identify connections between the courtroom experience and the themes and ideas discussed in the classroom. Students are also given the opportunity to develop an appreciation for the institutional and social contexts in which the legal system operates.
Every year TRU Law organizes a judge shadowing program with the courts in Kamloops for interested law students. Participating students tour the courthouse, watch court proceedings, and learn about the operation of the legal system directly from the judges.
Sun Rivers (on-reserve development)
Students registered in Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law typically visit the Tk'emlups reserve and the Sun Rivers land development on the reserve to ground their learning about economic development on reserve lands. Touring the reserve, students observe the unique features of this jurisdiction and notice different land-use patterns. Meeting at the Sun Rivers development and speaking with First Nations Tax Commission experts, students learn about the legal sources of some of these differences and the obstacles and opportunities for economic development on reserve lands. This field visit also supports learning about Tk'emlups more generally and the Indigenous territories in which TRU Law is situated.