Reflections on the 2018 Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Breanne Martin, Kelly Duquette, Ryan Stiles
Kyle Brooks, Jamie Lickers, Maria Lucas


uOttawa Faculty of Law students Maria Lucas, Breanne Martin, Ryan Stiles, Kyle Brooks and Kelly Duquette all participated in the 2018 Kawaskimhon moot- a consensus-based descision-making exercise.

Huge thanks to coaches Graham Ragan and Jamie Lickers who supported the team.

Reflections on the 2018 Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot

Maria Lucas
JD Candidate uOttawa Faculty of  Law


On March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot. Kawaskimhon is a Cree word roughly translated to “speaking with knowledge”. The moot is a consensus-based, non-adversarial moot that incorporates Indigenous legal traditions alongside federal, provincial, and international law. This year’s topic of negotiation was the protection, control, and trade of Indigenous cultural heritage. Parties to the negotiation had to develop a legal framework that would ensure the protection and control of Indigenous cultural heritage at both a local and national level. My team represented the Indigenous Bar Association as an intervenor in the negotiation. Our role was to ensure that Indigenous legal traditions were recognized and permitted to operate within or alongside the legal framework the parties developed.

One of the most valuable lessons I took from this experience is that inherent in negotiation is compromise. If parties walk away from the negotiation table feeling like they lost something to the other, then it was a successful negotiation. In this way, I thought that the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot accurately reflected what can occur in Indigenous-Canadian negotiations with respect to Indigenous land claims, modern treaties, and self-government agreements. However, while compromise may be inherent in these negotiations, I do not think that the compromises should be of such a degree that they detract from Indigenous people’s inherent sovereignty and laws. Indigenous people’s sovereignty and laws must always inform Indigenous-Canadian relations if the nation-to-nation relationship is to be restored in Canada.

Designed by Rachel Gold.