Hugo Choquette has a PhD from the Queen’s Faculty of Law. Before returning to Queen’s Law to pursue graduate studies, he practiced in a small law office in Napanee, Ontario. His research interests include language and law, constitutional law, and Aboriginal law. Over the last few years, he has taught introductory law courses both at the Faculty of Law and at Smith School of Business.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at Queen’s?
What I enjoy most about teaching is learning. Teaching is always an exchange, and every time I teach a course, I always feel that I have learned much more from the students than I ever impart to them. In Certificate in Law courses in particular, we have students from a great variety of backgrounds and with such a wide range of experiences who bring so much to our courses. It is always a rewarding and a humbling experience.
What can students expect to learn from your course?
Aboriginal law is all about the interactions between Canada as a state and the First Peoples of this land. In particular, we focus on the role that law has played in these interactions in the past and the role it continues to play today, in both a negative and a positive way. We also look at how law can and must be a part of the process of reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples.
Why is it important to learn about Aboriginal Law?
As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada noted, “Canadians from all walks of life are responsible for taking action on reconciliation in concrete ways, working collaboratively with Aboriginal peoples. Reconciliation begins with each and every one of us.” The first step in taking action is to educate oneself, and learning about Aboriginal law is part of that process.
What advice can you give students taking your course?
Come with an open mind and be prepared to challenge your prior assumptions. Remember that we learn in all of our interactions and that everyone has something they can contribute to others’ learning. And most importantly, do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or you are struggling with anything—we are here to help you!