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June 17, 2024

An eight-week Program of Legal Studies for Native People at the University of Saskatchewan was started by College of Law Dean Roger Carter in 1973, and at the time was the only one of its kind in the country. Established in response to the low number of Indigenous lawyers – only four in Canada – the purpose of the program was to assist Indigenous students with transitioning to university learning. Carter modeled the course after a similar program provided at the New Mexico Law School. By 1975 the program evolved into the Native Law Centre and offered undergraduate and graduate academic support for Indigenous law matters.

Carter played a major role in the history of legal aid in Saskatchewan. He chaired the Carter Committee in 1972 to 1973, appointed by then-Attorney General Roy Romanow, to review the system in the province and determined the needs of legal aid for the 1970s and future. The recommendations of the Carter Committee were substantially achieved under what became known as the Saskatchewan Community Legal Services Plan.

Every June we celebrate National Indigenous History Month, during which we acknowledge and learning more about the histories, cultures and ways of life of Indigenous Peoples. In recognition of #NIHM2024, check out this interesting compilation of Indigenous Lawyer Firsts across Canada.