Kawaskimhon Moot 2019

Pjila'si! Bienvenue! Welcome!

25th Kawaskimhon National Moot
March 1 - 3, 2019

The Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University is proud to host this year's Kawaskimhon National Moot. The Kawaskimhon (which is Cree for “speaking with knowledge”) Moot is unique among moot court competitions in that it is a consensus-based, non-adversarial moot that incorporates Indigenous legal orders alongside federal, provincial and international law.

The Kawaskimhon Moot has grown exponentially since it began at University of Toronto in 1994. Though it started small, it now has participants from nearly every law school in Canada. This is the first time it has been hosted by Dalhousie, and we are looking forward to contributing to the Kawaskimhon tradition.

Moot Format

The Kawaskimhon Moot is unique among moot court competitions in that it's conducted in accordance with Indigenous customs of peaceful negotiation and consensus-building rather than adversarial competition. Furthermore, it requires students to think about how Canadian laws and Indigenous legal principles can work together to help solve important issues facing the country.

In recent years, the Moot has used a talking circle style in an effort to facilitate consensus building. The Kawaskimhon encourages students to bring their unique personal perspectives to bear on a collective problem affecting Indigenous peoples and to work toward a mutual consensus.

As a multi-party negotiation experience, law school teams represent parties with interests in the problem. These parties range from traditional rights holders to advocacy groups, depending on the problem. The teams prepare written and oral arguments, often based on a position, and take into account the values, practices and laws of Indigenous and Canadian dispute resolution systems while negotiating in an open and respectful way.

2019 Moot Problem

This year's Kawaskimhon Moot Problem is focused on the reform of Canada's First Nations Child and Family Services Program.

Download the full moot problem [PDF - 420 kB]
Version française  [PDF - 461 kB]

Position Paper: Each team is expected to prepare a position paper that is 20 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font.  The team's position paper should provide an introduction to the team’s party and set out their position on the two questions set out in the Moot Problem.

Teams should indicate on their title page (not counted in page requirement) their team members, their table number, their coach(es) and their party.

Problem due date: February 18, 2019, 11 pm AST. Please send papers to naiomi.metallic@dal.ca and include your team email addresses on the cover page.


Unless otherwise indicated, all events will take place in the Weldon Law Building at 6061 University Avenue on the Dalhousie University Campus.

Thursday, February 28

Time   Activity Location
8:30 5:00  Travel  
5:00 6:30 Reception for Professor Val Napoleon  
7:00 8:30

Read Lecture - Professor Val Napoleon

For this year's Read Lecture, University of Victoria Law Professor Val Napoleon will be speaking about UVic's new joint Indigenous Law and Common Law degree, and all the great work that UVic is doing to help revitalize Indigenous Law. Lecture is open to the public, and all moot participants and coaches are welcome to attend the talk, and the preceeding reception for Professor Napoleon.


Friday, March 1

Time   Activity Location
9:00 10:00 Registration Foyer
10:00 12:00 Opening Ceremony Room 105
12:00 1:00 Lunch Atrium
1:00  3:00 Facilitated team discussions  Classrooms
3:00 3:30 Break Atrium
3:30 5:00 Facilitated team discussions - continued. Classrooms
6:00   Coaches night/Student Moot Teams night TBA

Saturday, March 2

Time   Activity Location
9:00 10:30 Facilitated team discussion - teams together Classrooms
10:30  11:00 Break Atrium
11:00  12:30 Facilitated team discussions - continued Classrooms
12:30  1:30 Lunch Atrium
1:30 5:00 Facilitated team discussion, teams together Classrooms
5:45   First bus leaves for Friendship Centre Lord Nelson Hotel
6:00   Second bus leaves for Friendship Centre Lord Nelson Hotel

Feast at Mi'kmaw Friendship Centre featuring Eastern Eagle Drum Group

Keynote from Chief Paul J. Prospect

Presentation of bundle gift

2158 Gottingen Street, Halifax
8:30   First bus leaves Friendship Centre, returns to Lord Nelson  
8:45   Second bus leaves Friendship Centre, returns to Lord Nelson  

Each table will have a scheduled 30 minute Q&A with Dr. Cindy Blackstock, as outlined below:

9:00 Table 1
10:00 Table 2
11:30 Table 3
2:00 Table 4
3:30 Table 5

Sunday, March 3

Time   Activity Location
9:00  11:00 Facilitated team discussion - teams together Classrooms
11:00 11:30 Break Atrium
11:30 1:30 Closing Ceremony Room 105
1:30  2:00 Bagged Lunch Atrium
2:00   End of Moot - teams free to leave  
1:30 2:05 Coaches Meeting Room 105


Parties to the Negotiations

1.    The Innu Nation of Labrador (Innu Nation) – Represents the two Innu communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish. The Innu Nation has been pushing both Newfoundland and Labrador and the federal government to adequately fund prevention services through an Agency for some time. Owing to media reports of suicides, addictions, and high numbers of Innu children being uprooted from their communities, that province agreed to hold an inquiry into the treatment of Innu children in the child protection system.

2.    Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC) – Represents the 13 Mi’kmaq communities of Nova Scotia that are serviced by the Mi’kmaq Child and Family Services Agency. After initial failure to consult with the Mi’kmaq on draft amendments to Nova Scotia’s Child and Family Services in 2014, pressure from the Mi’kmaq resulted in some amendments recognizing customary care and other accommodations to the Mi’kmaq in the province’s child welfare legislation. The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia want to develop their own child and family services laws.

3.      The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) – Represents 53 Inuit communities, all of which are parties to modern land claim agreements encompassing the territories of Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). Some of these agreements include recognition of Inuit jurisdiction in relation to child and family services, or at least contain the potential for greater control to be exercised by the Inuit over child and family services. ITK has been engaging with the federal government on its efforts to reform Indigenous child welfare and believes the focus of such work should be on the well-being of Indigenous children in care, preventing the children from unnecessarily being taken from their parents, supporting them once they are too old for care, and family reunification.

4.  The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) – Undertakes collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario. COO was an intervener in the Caring Society case. COO has been advocating that prevention dollars flowing from the decision should be provided directly to First Nations communities instead of FNCFS Agencies.

5.    The Splatsin First Nation (SFN) – A First Nation in British Columbia (formerly called Spallumcheen). Owing to significant protest and advocacy by this First Nation in early 1980s, SFN persuaded Canada to recognize its inherent and delegated authority under the Indian Act’s section. 81 bylaw power to create its own child welfare law, which it has followed ever since. The bylaw has been applied in the British Columbia courts. More recently, however, the province has been less willing to recognize the bylaw and has argued that its own Child, Family and Community Service Act should govern child welfare in the community. Splatsin has begun court proceedings to challenge British Columbia on its position.

6.    The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) – Represents seven First Nations that span three distinct linguistic cultures: Cree, Saulteux, and Dakota/Sioux. STC has had its own FNFCS Agency, STC Health & Family Services Inc., since 1996. In 2017, owing to allegations that the Agency had failed to file all of its reports pursuant to its funding agreement with Canada, the province decided to pull its designation of STC Health & Family Services Inc. as a recognized child welfare agency under provincial law. Following this, provincial child welfare workers were mandated to provide services to the STC communities, under the communities’ protest. Canada, STC, and the province have since been involved in legal battles over these issues.[1]

7.    The Métis Child and Family Authority of Winnipeg (Métis Child) – A provincially funded and designated child welfare agency to provide child and family services to Métis and Inuit families in Winnipeg. The organization feels strongly that the child welfare issues facing urban Indigenous and Métis peoples should not be overlooked in Canada’s efforts to reform Indigenous child welfare.

8.      Counsel of the Atikamekw Nation (le conseil de la Nation Atikamewk (CNA) – Signed an agreement with the government of Quebec to establish its own child and family caring regime.[2] Such an agreement is authorized pursuant to section 37.5 of Quebec’s Youth Protection Act, CQLR c P-34.1. The agreement was signed following a successful pilot project in the community that launched in 2000 and that, since its inception, has allowed (on average) 80% of Atikamekw children who were taken into care to remain in their communities.

9.  UNICEF Canada – A non-profit humanitarian organization focusing on saving children’s lives around the globe. UNICEF uses its influence not only to provide safety for children in need but also to make a noticeable change in their overall outlook on life. UNICEF believes that if we create a safe, nurturing environment, every child will get a chance in life regardless of circumstances. UNICEF has publically supported the Caring Society case and has launched several campaigns to pressure Canada and Canadians to do more to improve the well-being of children in Canada, including First Nations children.

10.      Amnesty International – A non-governmental organization focused on human rights, including the respect of international human rights instruments. Amnesty was an intervenor in Caring Society, often advancing arguments that the interpretation of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and Canadian law in general, has to be consistent with international human rights instruments, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and International Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

11.          Office Youth and Child Advocate of Alberta (OYCA) – A child rights’ organization based in Alberta that has several counterparts in other provinces and territories (British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and the Yukon; Ontario just announced the dissolution of its Child Advocate Office). The OCYA was established in 1989; on April 1, 2012, it became an independent legislative office with the proclamation of the Child and Youth Advocate Act, SA 2011, c C-11.5. The Child and Youth Advocate is an independent officer reporting to the Alberta legislature. The Advocate’s duties include advocating for children and youth who receive some government services (child intervention and youth justice services) and investigating the serious injury or death of children in care.

[1] See Saskatchewan v STC Health & Family Services Inc, 2016 SKQB 236
[2] See Montreal Gazette, “Quebec First Nations take control of youth protection” (November 29, 2018), online: https://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec-first-nations-take-control-of-youth-protection.


Download the Parties to the Negotiations document [PDF - 404kB]
Version française à venir beintôt/French translation to come soon



Table Locations & Facilitators:

Table Location Facilitator
1 Room 308 Angelina Amaral
2 Room 309 Kristen Basque
3 Room 411 Jennifer Cox
4 W405 (Grad Pad - Library) Heather McNeill
5 Dean's Conference Room (2nd Floor) Jamie Vacon


Assignments by table:

  Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Bilingual Table

Youth Advocate


Youth Advocate
Thompson Rivers

Youth Advocate
New Brunswick

2 Amnesty
British Columbia
3 Metis
4 Innu

Ottawa - English
Common Law


Ottawa - French
Common Law

Ottawa - Civil Law
6 Splatsin
British Columbia
7 Mi'kmaq
New Brunswick
Thompson Rivers

Assignments by team:

Team Role/Table

Youth Advocate - T1
STC - T2

British Columbia

Splatsin - T1
Amnesty - T3

Calgary Metis - T1
Innu - T3

ITK - T2
Amnesty - T1
Mi'kmaq - T4

Lakehead COO - T2
Manitoba STC - T1
Metis - T2
McGill Unicef - Bilingual
ITK - Bilingual
Montreal Amnesty - Bilingual 
New Brunswick Mi'kmaq - T1
Youth Advocate - T4
Osgoode UNICEF - T2
COO - T4
Ottawa (French common law) Innu - Bilingual
Ottawa (civil law) Atikamekw - Bilingual
Ottawa (common law) Atikamekw - T2
Queens COO - T3
Saskatchewan ITK - T4
STC - T3
Sherbrooke TBA
Thompson Rivers Splatsin - T4
Youth Advocate - T3
Toronto Innu - T4
ITK - T3
Victoria Splatsin - T3
Western Metis - T4
Windsor Mi'kmaq - T2
Innu - T1


More information coming soon.


Angelina Amaral, BA, Med:LLL, JD, is a Mi’kmaw Lawyer and a member of the Miawpukek (Conne River) First Nation of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Cape Breton University, a Masters of Education: Life Long Learning from Mount Saint Vincent University and a law degree from the Schulich School of Law. After articling through the Ku'tawtinu: Shared Articling Initiative, Angelina, was called to the Bar in June of 2015.

Through her involvement with the Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, Angelina, has taken part in several initiatives, including: Maintaining the Balance, a research initiative specific to Mi’kmaw justice concepts; and the development of a model for Gladue Reports within Nova Scotia. She has also assisted in drafting a number of community-based protocols that include: the Building a Bridge protocol for the use of section 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act within Nova Scotia; the Mi’kmaq Inclusion in the Process of Accountability for Hunting and Fishing Offences protocol for addressing regulatory offences in the Cape Breton Highlands; the Mi’kmaw Sentencing Circle Protocol; the Ankwe’aq: Mi’kmaw Custom Adoption Protocol; and the Wikɨamanej Kikmanaq Program protocol.

Kristen Basque BSW, RSW

Kristen Basque is a Mìkmaq Social worker from Eskasoni First Nations, Nova Scotia.  She was born and raised in Eskasoni. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and minored in psychology from University of Cape Breton.  After graduation, Kristen took a year off to work in justice as a Youth Justice worker with Mi'kmaq Legal Support Network.  She returned to school after her year of employment to pursue a career in Social Work.  Kristen graduated from Dalhousie Maritime School of Social Work.  After graduation, Kristen was employed with Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services of Nova Scotia (MFCSNS) as a child protection social worker.  While on maternity leave, she was offered a position as a youth customary law worker in which she accepted.  During her employment, she facilitated Youth Justice Circles.  In 2005, Kristen returned to work for MFCSNS as coordinator of Family Group Conferencing.  Currently Kristen is the Supervisor of the Wikɨmanej Kikmanaq FGC Program where she continues in this role to promote building positive relationships, reconciliation and healing while empowering families to make decisions for themselves. Kristen resides in Eskasoni with her partner Bertram and their 11-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. She is a fluent Mìkmaq speaker and believes in the importance of preserving her language and culture through embracing culturally relevant practices with families in their own communities.

Jennifer L. Cox, BA, LL.B
Project Lead- Enhanced Mi’kmaq Child and Family Initiative

  • Born and raised in Truro, NS – Member of Fort William First Nation, Thunder Bay
  • Dalhousie University- Bachelor of Arts 1991 & Bachelor of Law 1994
  • Called to Nova Scotia bar in 1995 & Called to Saskatchewan bar in 1996
  • Worked as a family practitioner and defence counsel, drug prosecutor, civil litigator, counsel to the Minister of Justice at the Inquiry, staff lawyer with both Dalhousie Legal Aid Service and N.S. Legal Aid, and Lead Commission Counsel for the National Inquiry into MMIWG.
  •  Also worked with APC, KMKNO and FSIN in various portfolios

Heather McNeill, BA, LL.B.
Project Legal Lead - Enhanced Mi’kmaq Child and Family Initiative

  • Member of Millbrook First Nation
  • Practicing lawyer for over 24 years
  • Worked for a decade as a registered nurse prior to her 21-year legal career at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service
  • Former Member of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Child Welfare 
  • Former Commissioner with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
  • Recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Assembly of First Nations’ James Gosnell Award, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s Distinguished Service Award, the Schulich (Dalhousie) School of Law’s Weldon Award, and Dalhousie Legal Aid Service’s Sarah MacWalker MacKenzie Clinical Law Award

Fanny Wylde
Fanny est une Algonquine originaire de la communauté de Pikogan au Québec. Elle est reçu au Barreau du Québec en 2007 et elle débute sa pratique au sein du Directeur aux poursuites criminelles et pénales. Elle a depuis pratiqué pour différentes communautés et organisations autochtones et a fait un saut en cabinet privé en 2013. Depuis 2016, elle a joint l’équipe légale de l’Enquête nationale sur les femmes et les filles autochtones dont le mandat se termine en juin 2019. Elle est mère de deux enfants et vit actuellement dans la ville de Québec.

Hotel Accommodations

The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites is offering Kawaskimhon Moot participants a special rate of $119 per night (plus applicable taxes) for their classic guest room.

Book online or call toll free 1-800-565-2020. Quote group ID 40823 or "Kawaskimhon (Schulich Moot)"

Deadline for special room rate: January 18, 2019

Additional Resources


  • First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (for the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada), 2016 CHRT 2


  • Cindy Blackstock, “The Complainant: The Canadian Human Rights Case on First Nations Child Welfare,” (2016) 62 McGill L.J. 285
  • Michael Coyle, "Indigenous Legal Orders in Canada: A Literature Review" (2017). Law Publications. 92. http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/lawpub/92
  • Anne Fournier, “De la Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse au Système d’intervention d’autorité atikamekw (SIAA)-La prise en charge d’une nation pour assurer le bien-être de ses enfants » Enfances, Familles, Généerations – revue scientifique internationale 2019: no 25: http://journals.openedition.org/efg/1152
  • Sebastien Grammond, “Federal Legislation on Indigenous Child Welfare in Canada,” (2018) 28 Journal of Law and Social Policy 132
  • Christiane Guay et Sébastien Grammond, « À l’écoute des peuples autochtones ? Le processus d’adoption de la "loi 125" » Nouvelles pratiques sociales, vol. 23, n° 1, 2010, p. 99-113.
  • Christiane Guay et Sébastien Grammond, « Les enjeux de l’application des régimes de protection de la jeunesse aux familles autochtones » Nouvelles pratiques sociales, vol. 24, n° 2, 2012, p. 67-83.
  • Christiane Guay, Emmanuelle Jacques et Sébastien Grammond, « La Protection des Enfants
  • Autochtones - se tourner vers l’expérience américaine pour contrer la surreprésentation » Canadian Social Work Review, Volume 31, Number 2 (2014) / Revue canadienne de
  • service social, volume 31, numéro 2 (2014) 195-209.
  • Christiane Guay et Sébastien Grammond, « L’interaction entre le droit innu et le droit québécois de l’adoption » (2018) 48 R.G.D. 123-152.
  • Anne Levesque, Sarah Clarke et Cindy Blackstock, « La plainte de discrimination devant le Tribunal canadien des droits de la personne portant sur les services d’aide à l’enfance aux enfants des Premières Nations et le Principe de Jordan » Enfances, Familles, Généerations – revue scientifique internationale 2019 : no 25 : http://journals.openedition.org/efg/1196
  • J Loxley et al, Wen:de: The Journey Continues, 1st ed (Ottawa: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, 2005
  • Naiomi Metallic, “A Human Right to Self-Government over First Nation Child and Family Services and Beyond: Implications of the Caring Society Case,” Journal of Law and Social Policy (forthcoming Fall 2018)
  • Judith Rae, “Program Delivery Devolution: A Stepping Stone of Quagmire for First Nations?” (2009) 7 (2) Indigenous LJ 1
  • Hugh Shewell, “Why Jurisdiction Matters: Social Policy, Social Services and First Nations” (2016) 36 Canadian Journal of Native Studies 179

Books & Collections

International instruments

Download the Resources document [PDF - 404kB]
Version française à venir beintôt/French translation to come soon

Halifax Attractions

There are lots of great things to see and do while visiting Halifax!


Great Places to Grab a Bite


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