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Elijah (Harper) speaks at law moot.

Kathleen Lickers, associate legal counsel with the Indian Claims Commission, was one of the facilitators for the Aboriginal law moot.

Lickers said that, although she has taken part in moots before, this was her first experience with the Aboriginal law moot and its consensus-building style.

"It was something that I don't think I'll forget. It was a really dynamic process." Lickers said of the moot.

As one of the four facilitators for the event, Lickers said her role on the first day was to "ask provocative and thought-provoking questions" and "stimulate debate," while the second day was "devoted to consensus-building and, using our best efforts in the day that we had, to try and come to a resolution."

This consensus-building process, Lickers explained, was one of the things that sets the Aboriginal Law Moot apart from more traditional moots.

"In a traditional, classic sense, it's an adversarial process. It's competitive. It is in all sense a mock trial. But in this Aboriginal moot, the facilitators ... were there to balance the table, and everyone spoke to the circle. We were not speaking to the facilitators in a role that would be akin to a judge. We were there in the same circle. We were all sitting at the same table. There was no sort of psychological barrier. And because of that it was a more creative process, I thought," Lickers said.

"Of the students that I spoke to, it gave them a sense of a common issue. There are students who are interested in Aboriginal law, and Aboriginal legal issues, and to have 40 or 50 of same-minded or like-interested people in the same room was motivating. And that, in terms of their law school experience, any opportunity for that to happen is great and it should be encouraged."

One of the highlights of the Aboriginal law moot was a speech given by Elijah Harper, commissioner with the ICC. Harper spoke at the banquet held March 10. In his presentation, Harper shared some of his insights regarding land claims issues with the law students present at the event.

"He was wanting to impart upon them the importance of settling claims, and the factors -- economic, socio-economic, cultural, political factors -- at play when claims go unresolved. It was an excellent speech. It was very provocative in that regard and gave them an interesting perspective, because they were looking at it from a very legalistic sort of approach throughout the day, and then they had the wisdom of his experience in the evening, and I thought it was a very nice balance for the day," Lickers explained.

"They really were honored that Commissioner Harper took the time to come and make the presentation, but it also sort of left them with the feeling that there is a lot to do. There's a lot to be done, there's a lot that they can contribute to, and that they should really strive, if they're at all interested in pursuing claims in their own communities, or in whatever area they chose to work in. There's a lot to be done, and there's a lot that they can do," Lickers said.
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Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Apr 1, 2000
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