A northern Ontario university says the new dean of its law school will be the first aboriginal woman to hold that position in Canada.
Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., has appointed Angelique EagleWoman to lead the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law starting in May, a month before the fledgling law school’s first class is set to graduate.
EagleWoman will leave her current postion at the University of Idaho College of Law, where she is a law professor and a legal scholar.
She told CBC News she’s impressed with the Lakehead faculty’s focus on rural and small-town practice, environmental law, and Indigenous law.
“Those three areas are all areas I’ve taught in and I have experience in, and I write a lot of articles about,” she said. “So I just thought ‘what a perfect match.'”
EagleWoman has taught in the areas of Tribal Nation economics and law, and Native American natural resources law. She has also published articles on topics like tribal economics and quality of life for Indigenous peoples, according to a Lakehead University press release.
Wants to build ‘distinguished’ law school
She takes over the position in Thunder Bay from the school’s first dean, Lee Stuesser, who resigned in 2015.
EagleWoman said she doesn’t feel that being relatively new to Canada will be an issue, adding that things like environmental law and Indigenous law share common traits on both sides of the border.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations coming out are very common issues with people that are both in the United States and in Canada who are Indigenous,” she said.
“So there’s a real commonality there, and the land doesn’t know political boundaries.”
EagleWoman said she wants to see the school grow and continue to be a forward-thinking institution.
“I hope to move the law school from the start-up phase to taking its place as a distinguished law school, along with the other Ontario and national law schools,” she said.
A biography posted on the school’s site says one of the highlights of her career was serving as general counsel for her own tribe, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in Dakota.