Episode 15

We need more Indigenous judges not only judges who are “Indigenous”- Justice Harry S. Laforme

Published on: 2nd December, 2022

What  this bold statement is we need judges with lived experience from living on their reserve, in their communities who experienced the control of the Indian Act in all aspects of life as an Indian Act person.

My guest on Empathetic Witness this week is my friend, and former boss, the first Indigenous judge appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, Harry S. Laforme, A Member of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, comes from a family of Chiefs, but he forged a different path and has torn down barriers by fearlessly drafting decisions that changed the laws of Canada, and liberated marginalized peoples.

Our conversation covers his legal career beginning in the late 70s until he retired from the bench in 2018. Being the only Indigenous person on the Appellate Court. We discuss complexities surrounding his ground-breaking decision that led to the legalization of same-sex marriages in Canada, also the constraints of the Indian Act and colonial policies that stem from that legislation.

If you are an Indigenous person, a lawyer, a Chief, or work in the band office, this podcast is for you, your friends, family, and community. Please share.

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About the Podcast

Empathetic Witness
Rethinking addictions
The podcast is a personal invitation to a conversation on addictions.

The format is one of compassionate Inquiry. Compassionate inquiry is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Dr. Gabor Maté, a Canadian physician who specializes in trauma and addictions.

Who is the target audience?

A person who struggles with addictions, or who knows someone who battles with drugs, alcohol, eating, shopping, over working, pornography, even iPhone, usage, how to curb your addiction, how to manage your addiction, and how to get rid of it completely. Also, someone who works in the field of addictions.

In this podcast you will hear important new perspective on addictions. I will give you content that will keep you interested and coming back for more. We will interview experts, reveal stories and success in addictions. We will give you tips to handle your addiction or to address the addictions of others. I invite you to listen to the podcast Empathetic Witness.

Do you sometimes unintentionally overhear other people's conversations?

We designed the podcasts like we are eavesdropping on a private conversation. It is unassuming, but direct. The interviewer’s questions anticipate what you, the listener may want expanded and clarified. We delve deeply into different types of addictions, alcohol, work, smoking, eating, shopping, sex, etc. the guests are selected for their expertise and reputation on the subject of addiction.

Your host is Angelina Pratt… over 25 years experience on addictions.

The first episode looks at the impact of colonization on how we view addictions, by the language we use, our attitudes, and our behavior. Once we can understand how colonization has impacted our Indigenous worldview, we can look at addictions more effectively. It is a journey. A healing journey that begins within a conversation, and we can begin the process of decolonizing.

The podcasts future episodes will explore how trauma impacts and creates addiction.

Some of the subjects we will be discussing are;

• What is addiction
• Residential School
• 60s scoop
• Adult children of alcoholics
• Adoption
• Abandonment
• Survivor's Guilt
• Child Welfare
• Harm Reduction
• Judicial system
• Loss of culture and language
• Global Pandemic 2020
• Solutions to addiction

About your host

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Angelina Pratt