Scharie Tavcer brings Justice Studies to the Far North
The CRJS field school to Rankin Inlet Nunavut that ran in May/June 2015 was the first of its kind for the Criminal Justice Degree Program. The field school consisted of four weeks in the classroom prior to departure as well as tours of Calgary’s Correctional Centre and Calgary’s Courthouse. The following two weeks were spent in Rankin Inlet with several justice service agencies such as the RCMP, the Pulaarvik Friendship Centre, Probation Services, the Ranking Inlet Healing Facility, Kivalliq Legal Society, and attending circuit court to name a few. Additionally, students engaged in various community service activities. Students volunteered with Deacon’s Cupboard food bank and clothing closet and did several activities in conjunction with the Rankin Rock girls’ under 18-hockey team. The field school is a 3-credit Community Service Learning designated course. Going to Rankin was an incredible learning opportunity for students to transform their knowledge of theory into practice beyond the classroom. Even though we are all under Canada’s justice policies and processes, the practical application of its systems varies greatly between the North and South. Regardless of what job our students will end up doing after graduation, they will encounter the overrepresentation of First Nations people in every arena of the justice system. It is crucial for students to understand the differences between the Aboriginal and the Inuit, to comprehend that the justice system does not operate in a rigid manner, and that the realities of life in Canada’s North require our appreciation and our engagement. The Criminal Justice Program aims to offer the field school again in the spring of 2017.