The BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association (CBABC) negotiated an agreement with Indspire (formerly known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation) to advance legal education for Aboriginal persons through the establishment of annual scholarships for Aboriginal persons to attend law school at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Victoria (UVic), and Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
Indspire has an excellent record in honouring the achievements of Aboriginal people in Canada, including through Indspire Awards (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards), a nationally televised gala celebrating Indigenous achievers from all disciplines. One of our Founding Partners, the Law Foundation of British Columbia, recognized the value of this initiative by matching the first $75,000 in funds raised by the CBABC.
Scholarships are paid from the interest earned on the trust fund managed by Indspire. In addition, Indspire has made a commitment to contribute additional monies for scholarship distribution purposes, an amount equal to the interest earned annually (less a small administration fee of approximately seven per cent of the interest).
The applicant eligibility is defined in the Indspire agreement with the CBABC. The key criteria for applicants require that they must:
- Have satisfactory academic standing
- Be of Aboriginal descent
- Be accepted in first year law studies in the upcoming year at one of BC’s three law schools
- Demonstrate financial need
Indspire has lead responsibility for promoting the scholarship program through its existing Education Department. Promotional activities focus on a national campaign to Aboriginal people interested in studying law at one of BC’s three law schools.
The Aboriginal Community in Canada is the fastest growing population with more than 50 per cent under 25 years of age. In addition, many Aboriginal persons are returning to school as mature students. Recent studies have identified that a significant number of placements at BC law schools specifically set aside for Aboriginal persons remain vacant each year, due in part to the inability of qualified candidates to fund their post graduate studies.
CBABC’s exciting partnership with Indspire recognizes that a legal education contributes to capacity building within the Aboriginal community in governance, business, social and human rights, and acknowledges the rapidly expanding legal needs of a growing Aboriginal population.
Many respected Aboriginal leaders have studied law, applying their legal expertise to building Aboriginal communities, advancing Aboriginal rights, protecting the environment, and improving media communications. Aboriginal leaders have changed and are changing the future of aboriginal persons in Canada and beyond. While there are many successes and many leaders and lawyers of Aboriginal ancestry, there is a continuing need to provide financial support to other Aboriginal people who choose to pursue a post-graduate degree in the study of law, as existing education support programs are heavily subscribed. Prospective candidates for the study of law represent some of Canada’s emerging leaders and follow in the footsteps of the many respected leaders and lawyers of Aboriginal ancestry with law degrees who have gone before them.
We invite you to make a contribution to help endow this trust fund by completing the Contribution Form.