What Students Say
Class of 2013:
Nicole Iaci, Kwantlen First Nation, British Columbia:
"Choosing to attend the Program of Legal Studies for Native People was without a doubt one of the best decisions I've ever made. As my first time travelling east of British Columbia, it was nerve racking to uproot my life for two months, but it was well worth it. Not only did the program get me prepared and even more eager to continue my journey toward law school, it left me with some great friends. The connections you build among peers and professors at the University of Saskatchewan are invaluable. It was truly an honour for me to participate in this program and to work alongside some of Canada's brightest and inspirational Indigenous students. I can't wait to see what our future has in store."
Kevin Henry, Métis, Oshawa, Ontario:
"During the stressful time of waiting for my acceptance letters, I first got one from Osgoode Hall. Feeling ecstatic, I told everyone that I got into Osgoode and would be attending in the fall. Little did I know that a week later I would get another letter from Osgoode that the offer was 'conditional' on the completion of the PLSNP. I remember feeling so let down that I had move to Saskatchewan for 8 weeks before I could attend Osgoode in the fall. It turns out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. The PLSNP gives you the tools to truly be successful in law school. You get a major head start above the other students. You have the time to learn how to properly read cases because the first time you do, it is really intimidating. You will have no idea what language you are reading.
It's not only the head start in law school that's important, but also the connections you form over the 8 weeks. I can personally say that the class of 2013 was a big family where we put our individualistic needs second to helping the group. Whenever a student needed help, they could reach out to the many resources, like the teaching group or one of the many nightly study sessions.
The PLSNP was an amazing opportunity to meet many aspiring lawyers from across Canada, which builds the foundation of many strong friendships. Not only was I happy that I attended the PLSNP, but I would highly recommend all Native students to take it, whether they have a conditional or unconditional offer. It will have a drastic impact on your law career to ensure future success at law school."
Yvan Larocque, Métis, Ste. Anne, Manitoba:
"The PLSNP is an amazingly valuable program to attend. I truly believe that the skills and knowledge I gained through the program's curriculum have prepared me for the next 3 years of law school. The focus on students and the development of analytical skills is at the forefront of the program. The faculty, teaching assistants, and staff at the PLSNP were highly effective at ensuring all the students achieved their full potential in learning and applying the various skills required to succeed at the study of law and the challenges of law school examinations. Studying Property Law, while respecting and considering Aboriginal perspectives, has given me a new understanding of the importance of Aboriginal Law within the Canadian legal system and has opened my eyes to important contemporary legal issues facing Aboriginal people and Canadians alike. The PLSNP's approach to learning fostered an atmosphere of cooperation, communication, and friendship throughout the 8 weeks. I believe that the friendships and connections made through attending the PLSNP are just as valuable as the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom. I would highly recommend the PLSNP to anyone who is willing and committed to investing in themselves and their future."
Randy Robinson, Algonquin of the Timiskaming First Nation, Quebec:
"As I reflect further upon my academic journey, I realize that many of my experiences and interests are centered upon the importance of creating positive changes for Aboriginal people through the voice of the legal profession. The lawyers and professors at the PLSNP imparted an essential foundation for achieving success in law school. The Property Law curriculum helped to augment a critical habit of analysis that further strengthened my comprehension, understanding and appreciation of the law. Grounded in this new appreciation was a determination to acquire the skills essential for succeeding in law school. Although the program expectations were heavy the support was outstanding and met my needs as a student immersed in an entirely new way of learning.The PLSNP teaching team was an invaluable resource when seeking direction and clarity while completing assignments and preparing for exams.
The knowledgeable and experienced teaching assistants were always available for one-on-one consultation. Having this sense of personal support available reinforced an environment that builds on both individual and group learning strategies. Important was the Macro Juridics segment of the program. This aspect of the program allowed me to step back from the more detailed examination of Aboriginal, Real and Personal Property law and also approach legal study through a broad and comprehensive lens. In this component of the course, we studied time management, strategies for exam writing and garnered insight from the experience and expertise of the legal professionals at the program.
Integral to my experience with the PLSNP was contact and guidance from a traditional knowledge holder offering valuable insights into customary legal concepts. Having an outlet to explore law through this viewpoint interrelated core values between Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing which animate the possibility of reconciliation between historically divergent notions of justice.
Altogether, PLSNP offered a distinguished, innovative, and diverse environment that provided a space to explore further my passion, commitment and vision of working with Aboriginal communities. My involvement in the PLSNP reinforced my desire to succeed in the legal profession while acknowledging Indigenous Peoples and my ancestors that have experienced historical disadvantages in our shared Canadian history. I believe the program is central to the emerging development of reconciliatory social, cultural, political and economic spaces in Canada’s future, thereby acknowledging my ancestors and Canadian Indigenous Peoples’ historical disadvantage."
Lara Ulrich, Fort McMurray Métis Nation, Alberta:
"I cannot say enough positive things about the value of the Program of Legal Studies for Native People. Though it was possibly one of the most academically challenging eight weeks of my life, I know that the experience has not only given me skills to succeed in law school, but has changed me as a person for the better. The people that you meet in this program will not only become your future colleagues in the field of law, but also lifelong friends. There is no competition or comparing - the professors and TAs truly want each and every student to succeed. Academic and cultural support is there each and every step of the way, challenging you to think about society, law, and yourself as a person in a different way.
Even though at times throughout the program, you will be sleep deprived and stressed, realizing a little too late the trouble with procrastination, I can honestly say that the entire experience is worth it. I have never been more excited and optimistic for my future. Because of this program, I know that I can succeed in law school. I almost did not apply to attend the program, and I am thankful that for once, I didn't listen to my doubts. This program truly showcases the best that Aboriginal law students have to offer, and the massive potential for the future of Aboriginal peoples in the study of law."
Class of 2008:
Brittany Fish, Wallaceburg, ON:
"In all honesty, I couldn’t imagine starting law school without having participated in the PLSNP. The faculty, teaching assistants and support staff assured us on our first day that they would prepare us for law school and that is exactly what they achieved. Through memorandum assignments and examinations we were tested on property law. We were taught how to read and analyze case law, take proper notes and techniques from teaching assistants to prepare for exams. Most importantly, the PLSNP was a compact course-load and it taught students the importance of prioritizing your schedule and time management. After completing the Program, the transition into law school was less intimidating and I felt comfortable entering law school having been prepared by an excellent teaching staff at the PLSNP."
Class of 1974:
Justice Harry LaForme, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation:
"I wouldn’t be anywhere without [the PLSNP]. It put a charge in me. It lit a candle that never was put out. ...It shaped our thinking, our approaches. I can’t imagine arriving here (our state of the law) without that place. When I started law school, there was no Aboriginal law. Now there isn’t a law school that doesn’t teach Aboriginal law. That evolution started with that Program."