National Truth and Reconciliation Day should highlight indigenous legal issues, says First Nations lawyer

“This court … is helping them stabilize and become contributing members of society,” said Calgary criminal attorney Krysia Przepiorka.


Friday is a big day for Calgary criminal attorney Krysia Przepiorka.

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And the First Nations attorney hopes other Calgarians will use National Truth and Reconciliation Day as a moment to pause and consider indigenous issues in our justice system.


“It’s personal,” Przepiorka said Wednesday, noting that many of his family are residential school survivors or endured the 1960s scoop.

“So the things we deal with in court are different,” he said.

Przepiorka was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Calgary Indian Court, which she says is just part of the need for reconciliation within the country.

As a member of the Carry the Kettle First Nation of southern Saskatchewan, she can empathize with accused Indians who find that court a useful tool in navigating the court system.

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“I have certainly experienced my fair share (of generational trauma) and I have witnessed it with my family and I think it is very important that society knows that the level of trauma is deep, those wounds are deep and do not heal overnight. tomorrow,” he said. .

“This court…is helping them stabilize and become contributing members of society.”

She said the national holiday is significant to First Nations communities.

“This is a monumental day for us and it’s not just a holiday,” Przepiorka said.

The Indian Court in Calgary is a key component within the legal system to unite First Nations peoples with the rest of society.

“It is a court that I am personally proud to be a First Nations,” he said.

“I thought with Friday coming up it could be a great opportunity to reintroduce Calgary to the Calgary Indian Court.”

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She said steps by our court system to make it more accessible for people in her community to navigate their court experience are important for issues like rehabilitation.

“It is a court that focuses on restorative justice and when I look at that, I see that it falls under the umbrella of reconciliation.”

The court, which opened three years ago, sits in a circle and has multiple agencies and parties represented along with the judge.

“Not many people know about the work that we do in that court, that the roundtable has resources available to help participants deal with these underlying issues that bring them before the justice system,” Przepiorka said.

“We are working to undo these levels of trauma that are intertwined and intergenerational for our participants.”

[email protected]

On twitter: @KMartinCourt

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