The Aboriginal Justice Studies (AJS) program explores topics related to crime and deviance, the criminal justice system, and the role of law, including Aboriginal conceptions and practices of law and policing. Courses critically examine the various responsibilities of key components of a system that strives to ensure the safety and protection of society. Students will look at the challenges Aboriginal people face in the criminal justice system, and how Aboriginal cultural approaches to corrections, policing, and courts are helping to address the legacy of colonization – which is evident in the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people processed by courts and prisons. A great emphasis is placed upon cultural values and beliefs of the Aboriginal community, and the AJS program utilizes Aboriginal adult educational teaching methodology, experiential learning, and practical application of academic knowledge. The program includes an introductory course in sociology with an emphasis on sociological issues affecting First Nations peoples, and an English course that emphasizes writing proficiency at the college level.
The AJS practicum placement allows students to gain experience working with agencies and organizations related to criminal and social justice. Graduates have entered careers in community justice agencies, policing, courts, customs, social work, and adult and youth corrections (including parole, probation, and supervision). Program credits transfer to colleges and universities for further studies leading to a Diploma or Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, as well as in other social sciences. Students may then further their education to graduate or law school.