Government support for Katzie First Nation project to revitalise Indigenous laws

Justice department announces $500,000 funding to bring changes affecting the Canadian justice policy

The “Katzie Customary Law: Inward Gathering and Outward Sharing” project aims to bring greater insight into traditional Indigenous laws. (Neil Corbett/The News)

The “Katzie Customary Law: Inward Gathering and Outward Sharing” project aims to bring greater insight into traditional Indigenous laws. (Neil Corbett/The News)

The Government of Canada, through the justice department, is providing support and funding for a Katzie First Nations project that aims to revitalize Indigenous laws within their community. The announcement highlighted the government’s support, in a move towards reconciliation and re-establishment of Indigenous laws.

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, the department of Justice announced $500,000 in funding over three years, through its Justice Partnership and Innovation Program, to support work towards changing conditions affecting the Canadian justice policy.

A social media post from Justice Canada read, “The #GC is supporting the Katzie First Nation with their project to revitalize Indigenous laws within their community http://ow.ly/iHKw50FOpP1.”

The government announced its support for the First Nation’s project “Katzie Customary Law: Inward Gathering and Outward Sharing” with David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Ron McKinnon, Member of Parliament for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam, and Councillor David Kenworthy of the Katzie First Nation.

Under this project, interviews and workshops will be conducted with Katzie Elders and knowledge holders, to gain greater insight into traditional Indigenous laws, practices and processes.

“Every law of our ancestors had strong intentions. This project will provide an opportunity to consider how Katzie Law can guide our decisions. We have to start being more aware of our intentions before deciding what we do or allow to happen in our territory,” said Kenworthy.

These customary laws will be shared throughout the Katzie community, including through youth and young adult culture and language camps. The intention of the camps would be to provide a meaningful cultural context as the participants reflect on how these customary laws might be adapted for the future.

The final step in the project would be for these discussions to inform the development of a customary law charter document and, eventually, an economic development plan that is in keeping with the Nation’s traditional laws.

Lametti said that the Government intended to walk the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and expressed his pleasure in supporting the First Nation’s project.

“I am pleased to support the Katzie First Nation project, which will help community members of all ages gain greater insight into traditional Indigenous laws, practices and processes. The efforts highlighted today help to advance reconciliation efforts with Indigenous communities and organizations as they work to revitalize their legal traditions,” said Lametti.

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