Aboriginal Court Worker Program

Mission Statement:

The Aboriginal Court Worker Program is dedicated to promoting Mohawk (Kanienkeha) approach to deal with justice concerns of all Akwesasronon.
Goals:

  • To ensure that all aboriginal people and especially Mohawks of Akwesasne (accused persons, victims and witnesses) who appear in the Akwesasne Mohawk Court and the Criminal, Youth and Family Courts in Cornwall, ON and Valleyfield, QC, understand their rights, responsibilities and options under the law and obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment from the courts.

Objectives:

To provide a Aboriginal Court Worker Service to Mohawks of Akwesasne and other aboriginal people who appear in the Akwesasne Mohawk Court, and in Bail, Criminal, Youth and Family Courts in Cornwall, ON and Valleyfield, QC which will:

  • Provide aboriginal accused at the earliest possible stage of justice process with timely and accurate information about;
    • the nature of the charges against them and consequence of the charge;
    • their rights, responsibilities and options under the law, including the Akwesasne Community Justice Program process;
    • the philosophy and functioning of the justice system and the process of the Akwesasne Community Justice Program;
    • Court procedures; and
    • the Judicial decisions or directions given by the court.
  • Provide Mohawk and other aboriginal accused persons with appropriate referral to Legal Aid and Legal resources;
  • Supervise Mohawks and other aboriginal accused persons on bail, where appropriate;
  • Refer Mohawk and other aboriginal accused persons to appropriate social, education, employment, medical and other resources to enable them to address the underlying problems which contributed to their charges and, where appropriate, follow up on these referrals;
  • Liaise between Mohawk and other aboriginal accused persons and Justice personnel to help overcome communication barriers, to reduce experiences of discrimination in the administration of justice and to diminish aboriginal alienation from the justice system; (this may include being able to provide information to the court and/or speaking on behalf of the accused)
  • Help Justice Officials be aware of and appreciate the Mohawk Cultural traditions, values, language, social-economic and other concerns of the Akwesasne community and the perspective of the Mohawk or other aboriginal accused person;
  • Assist Mohawk and other aboriginal victims of crime and witnesses by:
    • Explaining the justice process and procedures when requested;
    • Helping them overcome communication barriers and discrimination when dealing with justice personnel; and
    • Referring them to appropriate legal, social, educational, employment, medical and other services.
  • Promote understanding within the Akwesasne community of the existing justice system and alternative justice processes available by explaining the justice process to families of Mohawk accused persons and other community members and by organizing public legal education activities and;
  • Assist the Akwesasne community to identify and address problems which could end up in the courts or the Akwesasne Community Justice Program.