Trudeau Appoints First Indigenous Judge to Canadian Supreme Court


In the midst of a process of reconciliation in the country with its indigenous peoples, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday appointed indigenous judge Michelle O’Bonsawin to the Supreme Court.

A member of the Odanak First Nation in Quebec, O’Bonsawin has served on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice since 2017. “I am pleased to announce the appointment of O’Bonsawin to the Supreme Court, a body recognized around the world for its strength , excellence and independence,” Trudeau said.

O’Bonsawin has specialized in several areas over the course of his career, including mental health and human rights. “As an Indigenous woman who grew up in Northern Ontario, I realized the need for people dedicated to strengthening their voice to represent those who cannot speak for themselves,” she wrote in her application letter released by the government.

A non-binding procedure must take place in late August in Parliament before the judge takes over. In 2021, Mahmud Jamal became the first non-white appointed to the High Court.

In recent years, Canada has relived a dark chapter in its past: the abuse and death of indigenous children sent to Catholic-run boarding schools between the late 19th century and the 1990s.

During this period, the government sent around 150,000 children to 139 of these schools. Minors were separated from their families, languages ​​and culture with the intention of changing their identity. Many suffered physical and sexual abuse, and thousands are estimated to have died from disease, malnutrition and neglect.

During a visit to Canada last month, Pope Francis met with boarding school survivors and apologized for the abuses, which he called tantamount to genocide.

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