The transmission of knowledge from one generation to another is key to the survival of any cultural group. The beating heart of Indigenous groups lies in the relationship between their youth and elders who entrust children with historical, traditional, cultural and linguistic knowledge. Despite government policies of assimilation and the era of residential schools, Indigenous Peoples have been resilient in protecting their traditional and historical inheritances. Today more than ever, they strive to assert their right to educate their youth according to their own cultural values and visions for the future.
At Hutchins Legal, we work closely with Indigenous communities and with Indigenous educational organizations to ensure that our clients’ right to manage their own educational systems is respected. We have advised clients on their right to self-govern on matters of education including linguistics rights, and on the effect of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) on such rights. We have also advocated for access to education in English for English-speaking First Nations communities in Quebec. Our lawyers appeared before the Commission d’enquête sur les relations entre les Autochtones et certains services publics au Québec and made recommendations based on issues affecting our clients. We have revised and made recommendations concerning agreements between the Government of Canada and Indigenous organizations to ensure that students have access to equitable level of funding and that communities have the tools to develop local institutions and secure their control over education. Finally, our lawyers continuously monitor new governmental policies to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ jurisdiction over the education of their members is recognized and respected.