About Bryan Schwartz

Bryan Schwartz has written, taught, and practiced in the area of aboriginal law for over thirty years. He was a government advisor in the constitutional negotiations on aboriginal issues that took place in the 1980s and he dealt with aboriginal issues again as an advisor to governments or aboriginal groups in the Meech lake and constitutional rounds of negotiations. Bryan has also co-written briefs or presented argument in a number of Supreme Court of Canada cases involving First nations issues, including Badger, Blackwater, Marshall (involving title), Kapp, Sappier and Gray, and Moses.

In the area of specific claims, Bryan has be an advisor to the Assembly of First Nations since 1997. In 1998, he participated in the AFN and federal joint task force that proposed a model bill on specific claims, and again in 2007 to 2008 on the joint task force that produced the essence of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act. Bryan has testified before Senate and House of Commons committees on specific claims as both an advisor to the AFN and as an independent expert.

Bryan holds an LL.B. from Queen’s and a Master’s and Doctorate in law from Yale Law School. He has been a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba since 1981, and in 1999 became the inaugural Asper Professor of International Business and Trade Law. Bryan has published seven books and over sixty academic articles. He is the founding and general editor of both the Asper Review of International Business and Trade Law and the Underneath the Golden Boy series, an annual review of legislative developments in Manitoba. Over the years, he has received numerous awards and honours for teaching, research, and community service.

Bryan’s practical experience has included acting as counsel for the Pitblado Law firm since 1994. He has advised or presented in a wide variety of public and commercial law cases in a wide variety of courts and tribunals. He has participated in the drafting of briefs or the presentation of oral argument in over a dozen Supreme Court of Canada cases. In recent years his clients have also included federal, provincial, municipal, and aboriginal governments, as well as private individuals, non-profit organizations, and administrative agencies. The issues in which he has been involved include constitutional, aboriginal human rights, labour, the environment, health care reform, and regulation of the professions.

Bryan has served as an arbitrator in international trade law cases and labour grievances. He teaches labour law, has been a Canada Labour Code adjudicator since 1994, and has served as a sole arbitrator or panel member in a number of grievances brought under collective agreements.

With the support of the Indigenous Initiatives Fund at the University of Manitoba, Bryan introduced a new course at the law school on Indigenous People Oral History and the Law. He also released this year a collection of oral histories of Indigenous jurists and policy-makers from Manitoba. It is available for free public access at the Manitoba Law Journal website and other e-locations, including Google Play.

Information about Oral History, Indigenous Peoples, and the Law course can be found on the Robson Hall website and is reproduced here:

Course Title: Oral History, Indigenous Peoples, and the Law (Schwartz)

Course Number: LAW 3980

Category: Courses, Second or Third Year

Course Description: “Oral history can present greater opportunities for understanding historical events than the recitation of bare facts. It can reveal the intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional cognition of the event for the group in question.”

John Borrows, Listening for a Change: The Courts and Oral Tradition (Toronto, ON: Osgoode Hall Law Journal 39, 2001)

Oral histories and oral traditions are serving increasingly vital roles in the Canadian legal and political systems. Oral history is being used in the courts, comprehensive and specific land claims processes, treaty interpretation, land use and occupancy studies, and as an educational tool. The individual, family, and community histories in the oral tradition help to bring complicated issues to life. They also support archival and archaeological evidence, particularly for issues where there is little documentary record.

In this course students will explore the roots of this dynamic, yet ancient, phenomenon. Guest Lecturers will explain the concepts and practices of oral history including biblical oral traditions, African oral traditions, as well as the disparate and unique media and methodologies of remembering the past. Students will consider the public perceptions of oral history, the modes of memory recall, orality relation and transmission. Students will study the effect of trauma, the reliability of eye witness testimony, and the specific physical Indigenous traditions of memory encoding.

Background Reading: Bruce Granville Jones, Oral History on Trial: Recognizing Aboriginal Narratives in the Courts (UBC Press 2012) available through UM Library

Guest Lecturers: Ms. Joan Jack, Professor David Ireland, Professor John Borrows, Dr. Emőke J.E. Szathmáry and Professor Darren Courchene

Oral History Workshop Facilitators: University of Winnipeg Oral History Centre

Teaching Method: Lectures, skills workshops, and self-learning module.

Assessment: For this semester’s offering of the course, in addition to the existing substantial paper requirement, students have the alternative of substituting for the paper requirement the submission of 7 short papers. The students who choose this option will receive credit for a “regular” elective course, not a Research & Writing (aka Perspective) course.

Course Materials: UMLearn

To learn more about Bryan Schwartz, you can visit his website here.