The staff members of MLSN have not had a raise or cost of living adjustment in at least five years.
That MLSN cannot sufficiently meet these demands challenges community buy-in, trust, and support, which are already precarious due to centuries of colonization, the intergenerational impacts of residential school, pervasive systemic discrimination, and its attending poverty, mental health, and addictions issues.
The mandate of MLSN's Victim Service Support (VSS) is to develop and specialize a mode of service delivery that addresses the unique needs of Aboriginal victims of crime with a focus on the development of a culturally supportive Victim Services that encourages the participation of Aboriginal victims in the justice process.
A pilot project is currently underway that creates community justice committees through MLSN, and is trying to coordinate committees that function as "Citizens' Advice Bureaus" for the provision of basic information about legal services and processes.
There are judges and other justice personnel who are not aware of or find it inconvenient to utilize the services of MLSN and customary law processes, and there are community members who do not know where to go to get help when they need it.
Through its many programs, extensive training, skill building, and cultural knowledge translation processes, MLSN has touched the lives of thousands and taught many about Mi'kmaw practice, beliefs, and ways of justice.
The activities of this research were oriented to create opportunities to encourage dialogue between MLSN and the Nova Scotia Barristers Society, Nova Scotia Legal Aid, Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, the Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaq Initiative, and Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University by identifying public legal education needs of Mi'kmaw communities in Nova Scotia and to generate productive working relationships to address these needs.
Focus groups were held with students of the Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq Initiative of Schulich School of Law at the Native Education Counseling Unit, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Legal Aid, the Race Equity Committee of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, Indigenous members of the RCMP, and with the staff of the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network (MLSN).