James Igloliorte

From one end of mysterious Labrador to the other, folks call him Judge Jim. For more than a decade now, James Igloliorte has served as Judge with the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, making him Labrador’s only Inuk judge and one of the few practicing Aboriginal magistrates in all of Canada. “Jim Igloliorte may not be unique, but he’s certainly exceptional,” a pair of journalists once said of him. He’s certainly proved them right. As a judge, the Hopedale born and raised Judge Igloliorte has made it his personal mission to ensure that the administration of justice is more responsive to Inuit culture and traditions. He is also dedicated to making sure Aboriginal people before the court clearly understand both their rights and the procedures of the Canadian justice system they are facing. Judge Igloliorte is also the first judge in Canada to apply the code of colour when a group of Innu stood before his court charged with trespassing on the grounds of a Canadian Armed Forces base. Dismissing the charges, his ruling thereby recognized the Innu claim to their ancestral homeland. His decision created shockwaves. Regardless, Judge Jim forged ahead. Jurist, educator, proud contributor to his people, James Igloliorte was a 1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Award recipient in the category of Law and Justice.