A grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario’s (LFO) Responsive Grants program is funding the development of a game-based learning tool designed by and for Indigenous youth. The concept for the game, a quest for knowledge about legal rights, came from last year’s Aboriginal Youth Designing a Better Justice System project.
Aboriginal Youth Designing a Better Justice System, also funded by the LFO, was delivered in partnership with the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution (Winkler Institute) and Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) with assistance from the Ontario Child Advocate. Twenty five Indigenous youth from throughout Ontario came together to explore ways technology could be used to improve relationships between police and their communities. Employing design thinking methods, youth worked collaboratively to brainstorm, design and refine technology prototypes that would improve youth access to justice. Their efforts resulted in prototypes for three innovative digital products.
Of the three prototypes that came from the workshop, one has now advanced to the next stage of development. Shield Your Rights is an educational game that incorporates the Seven Grandfathers Teachings (wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth) in a quest to learn about youth’s legal rights during police interactions.
The second phase of development picks up from where the first phase left off. An Indigenous Youth Leadership Team will work closely with subject matter experts, as well as staff from OJEN, the Winkler Institute and JFCY, to refine and concept-test Shield Your Rights. The entire group of youth from the original design thinking workshop will be updated regularly and given opportunities to provide input. The project will culminate in another two-day design-thinking workshop where the Indigenous Youth Leadership Team members will share their progress with members of the original group and engage in preliminary user-testing. The youth’s feedback will be incorporated into the final product: a pitch deck and design documents which the youth and project partners can use to solicit funding to build the game.
Aboriginal Youth Designing a Better Justice System and Shield Your Rights received their inspiration from the 2016 Feathers of Hope First Nations youth forum report, Justice and Juries—A First Nations Youth Action Plan for Justice. In it, Indigenous youth shared a vision of justice that was respectful of their culture and traditions. It offered recommendations on how to improve the historically negative relationship between the justice system and Indigenous people. Among their recommendations, they identified justice education as a key activity toward realizing this goal, and named OJEN as an organization that could help them achieve it.
The Aboriginal Youth Designing a Better Justice System and Shield Your Rights projects are a direct response to recommendations from this report. To learn more about Aboriginal Youth Designing a Better Justice System, read the white paper on the project.