Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond joins Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre and Allard School of Law

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. Credit:
Office of the Representative for Children and Youth

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-kwe), a renowned Indigenous Canadian judge, lawyer and advocate for children and Indigenous restorative justice, has joined UBC as the inaugural director of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) and as a professor with the Peter A. Allard School of Law.

“This opportunity to deepen the dialogue and respond to the legacy of residential schools is historic,” said Turpel-Lafond. “What happened with these schools, and the policies that permitted them to flourish, must never be forgotten or set-aside.

“The university community at UBC, the learning community nationally, and civil society, must continue to engage with survivors, families and communities on their experiences, thus ensuring the legacy is critically examined and intergenerational consequences are understood and addressed.  With understanding will come dialogue on necessary actions for recognizing and respecting Indigenous peoples’ human rights and the revitalization of Indigenous languages, education systems, laws, cultures and self-determination. The child welfare issues alone are a matter recognized recently by the Government of Canada as a humanitarian crisis experienced today but connected to the legacy of these schools.”

Turpel-Lafond started her role as a professor in the Allard School of Law on March 23 and assumes her director role on June 1.

View the full press release on the UBC Public Affairs website.