Apr 13, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

First-Ever Aboriginal Judge Sworn in as Northwest Territories Supreme Court Justice

2 min read

An aboriginal woman has been appointed to the Northwest Territories (NWT) Supreme Court for the first time.

With her swearing-in on Friday January 13, Shannon Smallwood became the first Dene to hold the post, and completes an all-woman, five-judge panel.

I think its significant. It shows the progress weve made in the Northwest Territories, Smallwood told theAboriginal Peoples Television Network(APTN). Back when I was growing up in Fort Good Hope you didnt see people thinking about going to university or becoming a doctor or a lawyer. And today theyre going to university, theyve been becoming doctors, theyre becoming lawyers, and now, a judge.

Born in Inuvik, she grew up in Fort Good Hope and dreamed of being a lawyer before knowing what one was, she told APTN.

As I grew older and thought about and realized the impact that law has on everybodys lives, I began to become interested in the law and wanted to pursue that career path.

Her hard-working parents and grandparents inspired her, she said.

Smallwood was also sworn in as a justice for the Supreme Courts of Nunavut and Yukon, plus the courts of appeal for all three territories,CBC Newsreported, and is the first aboriginal to sit on any of those courts.

Except for Justice Edward Richard, who is retired but subs in when the other NWT Supreme Court judges arent available, the panel is all-female, CBC News said.

Marilyn Napier, president of the NWT Native Womens Association, called Smallwood a role model, telling CBC News, Its really wonderful to see an aboriginal woman in a career like that.

Read more:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/01/16/first-ever-aboriginal-judge-sworn-in-as-northwest-territories-supreme-court-justice-72799http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/01/16/first-ever-aboriginal-judge-sworn-in-as-northwest-territories-supreme-court-justice-72799#ixzz1ji1YFyK1

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