Miyo-wîcêhtowin, R v Stanley, and Our Future as Lawyers
Miyo-wîcêhtowin. It is a term I have learned to express the idea of good behaviour; responsibility to others; and not forgetting those who are the most forgotten, the most in need of help, those whose ways we most benefit from. It is Cree, but its nature and scope is not necessarily unique to Cree circles. It is reinforced by religious references,standards for professional certification and volunteer groups, and personal choices. It is also woven into Canada’s legal system, whether in judicial decisions or in academic or professional discussions. So while we can see it when appreciating cultural tenets or our own morality, it is also described as being part of law. The idea of good behaviour, and how that idea was observed and challenged, was constantly raised by myself and some colleagues as the trial of Gerald Stanley started. It was on all of our minds as we, and our fellow people in Canada, learned of the jury’s verdict.