Faculty of Law

UAlberta Law presents Sen. Patti LaBoucane-Benson with an Aboriginal Justice Award Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson received…

Faculty of Law

Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson

UAlberta Law presents Sen. Patti LaBoucane-Benson with an Aboriginal Justice Award

Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson received the 2020 Aboriginal Justice Award at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law on March 6.

The award was presented by Dean David Percy on behalf of the Indigenous Students’ Association during the last day of its week-long Speakers Series.

“The Aboriginal Justice Award recognizes the hard work of a professional in the legal field who has dedicated their life’s work to provide services to Indigeous communities,” said Dean Percy. “I am delighted to present this year’s award to Senator LaBoucane-Benson.”

Sen. LaBoucane-Benson received the award in acknowledgement of her outstanding contributions to the community, including her dedication to building resilience in Indigenous communities and her support of historic trauma healing programs.

The Senator was a featured speaker at the event, where she addressed historic trauma and healing in the context of her graphic novel, The Outside Circle.

“I would like to talk about justice in the broadest sense of the word — that is, social justice,” said LaBoucane-Benson as she opened her talk.

“We are going to look at the interplay between truth, evidence and art,” she said.

LaBoucane-Benson connected historic trauma — understood as colonial violence that Indigenous peoples continue to experience — with contemporary realities. She spoke about the interrelation between poverty, incarceration and child welfare.

“We need to talk about healing,” she said. “I have witnessed deep transformation by people in the ‘In Search of your Warrior Program.’ ”

The “In Search of Your Warrior” program is a holistic healing program led by Elders for incarcerated or conditionally released Indigenous men at the Stan Daniels Healing Centre in Edmonton. LaBoucane-Benson has worked with Native Counselling Services of Alberta, which runs the healing centre, for more than 20 years.

LaBoucane-Benson’s talk generated lively discussion throughout, and she invited participants to further conversations.

“One of the cornerstone tools of reconciliation is dialogue,” she said.

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