Tsimshian

Soon-to-be lawyer wins right to wear regalia when she is called to the bar

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Photo: Christina Gray with permission

Christina Gray will set a strong precedent when she is called to the bar this week.

In a sea of black barristers’ robes at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Gray, a proud member of the Lax Kw’alaams Tsimshian, will be wearing her woollen black and red Tsimshian button blanket and her cedar hat. On her back there will be a hand-sewn killer whale, representing her clan.

The regalia represents her Tsimshian culture, laws, ways of being and history, said Gray.

Gray will be the first in Ontario to wear First Nations regalia instead of the traditional barristers’ robes when called to the bar on Tuesday.

In May, an initial request from Gray to the Law Society of Upper Canada to wear her traditional regalia for the ceremony was rejected on the grounds that the clothing worn at the call should be appropriate for court, and that regalia would cover the traditional barristers’ robes. Gray was invited to speak to the issue if she had further questions.

A month later, while watching the closing ceremony in Ottawa for the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the residential school experience, she drafted a formal letter to the society, said Gray. Read More…

Source: http://rabble.ca/news/2015/06/soon-to-be-lawyer-wins-right-to-wear-regalia-when-she-called-to-bar?utm_content=bufferde656&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.VYh3aoAH340.facebook

Along with statements of support from her community, Gray sent the letter on June 5 and after a few meetings, the society honoured her request.

Prince Rupert students must learn indigenous language from September

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Prince Rupert students must learn indigenous language from September

Students in Kindergarten through Grade 4 will learn Sm’algyax, language of the Tsimshian First Nation

By Daybreak North, CBC News

This is one of the Prince Rupert schools where children will be required to learn some of the language of the Tsimshian First Nation.

This is one of the Prince Rupert schools where children will be required to learn some of the language of the Tsimshian First Nation. (Google Streetview)

Starting in September, all Prince Rupert, B.C., students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 4 will be required to learn Sm’algyax, the language of the Tsimshian First Nation.

The language program has been available at two of the district’s schools for the past decade, but it will now expand to every primary classroom in the city.

Roberta Edzerza, the Aboriginal Education Principal for School District 52, says the program is designed to teach small, simple aspects of the language that can be used in song, activities and outdoor learning.

“We are on traditional Tsimshian territory and the Sm’algyax is the language of the territory,” she told Carolina de Ryk on CBC Radio One’s Daybreak North.

“We are so proud and we would like to share our language and culture with everybody.”

While learning a second language has been shown to be beneficial to the developing brain, Edzerza adds that this particular program can act as a bridge between cultural communities.

“It’s one avenue to address racism. Education is key. Learning the language and sharing in the learning and the culture,” she said.

“Our students are really proud and they look forward to learning the language.”

To hear the full interview with Roberta Edzerza, listen to the audio labelled: Students in Prince Rupert to learn indigenous language.