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Court process

ontario specific
legal information

Eagle featherYou may value alternative approaches to dispute resolution. If you want to use mediation or other alternative dispute resolution strategies, it is important for you to prepare for this experience. This may include working with a women’s legal advocate to make a safety plan that fits with your approach to dispute resolution.

If you become involved in a court proceeding that involves testifying in court, you will be required to swear or affirm to tell the truth. You can use an eagle feather in place of a religious book to make this commitment to be truthful. Many courts now have eagle feathers available, and if they don’t, you should be able to obtain one from an Indian Friendship Centre. You would hold the eagle feather and make a statement like this one before you begin to testify:

This eagle feather symbolizes our direct connection to the Creator for my people and I hold it in the spirit of the truth.

There does not appear to be any precedent in Ontario for smudging in place of swearing or affirming to tell the truth, but if this is what you would like to do, you (or perhaps your advocate) could approach the court to ask. You would also have to find an Elder who would be willing to do this.