SASKATOON – About 40 students from St.Frances School participated in a mock drug trafficking trial Friday. The trial was part of the Dare to Dream outreach program for First Nations and Métis students aged 11-14, aiming to inspire them to consider a career in law.
One of the participants, Madison Pahtayken, dreams of being a judge.
“When I was a judge it was fun … I learned to talk a lot, and to be nice, and to see both of their perspectives,” she explained.
Before the experience, Pahtayken said she had a very different idea of what court would be like.
“A lot of drama and yelling and ‘guilty!’ ‘not guilty!’,” she said smiling.
St. Frances School teacher Bonnie Yew said her students’ performance blew her away.
“It was a learning curve for them because they may have seen the justice system in a different way, or not exposed to it at all,” she explained.
“I could see the growth in some of the students–in their participation.”
Provincial court judge Gerald Morin from the Peter Ballatyne Cree Nation presided over the trial.
“Seeing the young aboriginal students in that situation, positive contact with the justice system, they’re not recipients, they’re participants in relation to it, to me that’s very important, ” Morin explained.
Morin outlined the importance of encouraging members of the aboriginal community to consider a career in law.
“The combination of life and understanding, knowledge and understanding, is a major step. And certainly I think I’ve been able to bring that myself, and certainly it’s something that guides me,” he explained.
While Pahtayken has to take off her robes for now, she hopes to earn them back in the future.