Christian Spence is Cree and Inuk. His mother is originally from Inukjuak, Nunavik, and his father is from Split Lake, Manitoba of the Tataskweyak Cree Nation. Christian is a 3rd year student at the University of Ottawa in the English Common Law Program. He holds a certificate in Media and Communications and a diploma in General Arts & Science from Algonquin College. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from Carleton University. Prior to law school, Christian was a Policy Advisor with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. He recently completed a Student Internship for the Honorable Senator, Brian Francis, at the Senate of Canada, and is an experienced facilitator for Indigenous community engagement with Avaanz Ltd. Christian served as summer student with First Peoples Law LLP ("FPL") in 2023 and will be returning to article at FPL in August of 2024. Christian is currently the Co-President and Treasurer of the Indigenous Law Student Governance ("ILSG") at the University of Ottawa.
Upon learning of his selection for the scholarship, Spence shared, "I am extremely honoured to receive this scholarship. The Honourable Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin's recent appointment to Canada's highest court is inspiring. Her success as a legal trailblazer is a reminder that we, as Indigenous people, can effectively participate in Canada's legal profession. Nakurmiik to CCLA for providing Indigenous students an opportunity to succeed in law school by offering financial support during our studies!"
Lauren Aussant (she/her) is a proud Michif Métis woman from Saskatoon, SK, located on Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Métis. She is a 1L student in the French common law program (Programme de common law en français) at the University of Ottawa and graduated with her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2023. She currently serves as Co-VP Finance on the Indigenous Law Student Governance.
Aussant is grateful, not only for the scholarship, but for its significance. She said: "I would like to give an immense thank you to the CCLA for their generosity in offering this scholarship to Indigenous students. I am humbled to have been chosen as a recipient. The CCLA’s generosity serves as a reminder of the importance of giving back to the community, which I will continue to do as best I can."
The Honourable Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin Scholarship, established by the CCLA, aims to support Indigenous students pursuing full-time studies at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. The scholarship, named in honor of Justice O’Bonsawin, the first Indigenous Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada and a double-graduate of the uOttawa Faculty of Law, includes a monetary award of $2,500.00 per recipient annually, along with a student membership in the CCLA for the duration of their studies at the University of Ottawa.
The CCLA's commitment to promoting reconciliation and addressing the underrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the legal profession is commendable. By establishing scholarships such as The Honourable Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin Scholarship, the association is actively contributing to fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for Indigenous law students like Lauren Aussant and Christian Spence at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law.
Congratulations Christian Spence and Lauren Aussant.