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Canada nominates O’Bonsawin as first Native Supreme Court Justice

#Canada #nominates #OBonsawin #Native #Supreme #Court #Justice

Canada on Friday nominated Michelle O’Bonsawin to become the first indigenous person to serve on the Supreme Court, a historic first for a country trying to seek redress for abuses against indigenous people.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said O’Bonsawin, a member of the Odanak First Nation, will bring “invaluable knowledge and input” to the court.

“Your nomination is the result of an open, impartial selection process,” added Trudeau.

O’Bonsawin has been a member of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice since 2017, specializing in mental health and human rights issues.

“As a First Nations woman growing up in northern Ontario, I realized the importance of empowered individuals providing a strong, representative voice for those who cannot speak for themselves,” the judge wrote in one Questionnaire as part of her candidacy for the job. It was released by the government.

She will take up her new post after a non-binding vote in Parliament later this month.

O’Bonsawin’s nomination is the second in a row to make history on the Supreme Court. Mahmud Jamal was the first black woman to hold a seat on the tribunal last year.

In recent years, Canada has been trying to come to terms with a dark chapter in its past: the abuse and death of indigenous children who have been sent to Catholic boarding schools for decades.

From the late 1800s through the 1990s, the Canadian government sent about 150,000 children to 139 such schools.

Indigenous children have been separated from their families, language and culture to eradicate their identity.

Many were physically and sexually abused in schools, and thousands are believed to have died from disease, malnutrition or neglect.

During a visit last month, Pope Francis met with survivors of the boarding school system and apologized for what he said amounted to genocide.

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#Canada #nominates #OBonsawin #Native #Supreme #Court #Justice

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