Kathleen Lickers is honoured at the IBA Gala surrounded by fellow IPC (Photo supplied by Laura Sharp)
The Indigenous Bar Association was honoured to designate Kathleen N. Lickers as Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel at the 30th Annual Conference of the Indigenous Bar Association. Kathleen is Haudenosaunee from Six Nations of the Grand River. Jeffery Hewitt (General Counsel, Rama First Nation) and Candice S. Metallic (Partner, Maurice Law) praised Kathleen and highlighted her many contributions in their nomination letter:
“Throughout her legal career, Kathleen has promoted each of the Indigenous Bar Association’s objectives and exemplifies the highest calibre of Indigenous legal practitioner in Canada… Kathleen’s contribution to the profession and to Canada is richly analogous to a women’s traditional dancer who offers her gift of dance at ceremonies and celebrations. This dancer creates her regalia with focused creativity, uses subtle and precise footwork and moves with clear purpose, intention and confidence while always keeping one food on the earth as a demonstration of the direct connection between women and our Mother Earth.
Immediately after being called to the bar in 1995, Kathleen started her career as Associate Legal Counsel at the former Indian Claims Commission. This is where she began her journey in promoting the reform of policies and laws affecting Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the resolution of historic injustices. There she provided advice on complex inquiries involving treaty land entitlements and historic land surrenders, management of bank assets and the fiduciary duties of the Crown. Kathleen’s legal writing produced inquiry reports on a variety of claims, in particular-1905 Surrender of Cypress Hills Reserve, Eel River Dam Claim, 1907 Finishing Lake Surrender, along with many others. Akin to a traditional dancer, Kathleen’s work at the Indian Claims Commission was rooted in the deep connectedness of Indigenous Peoples to land and waters.
In keeping with the IBA’s objectives, Kathleen has consistently promoted and advanced legal and social justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada throughout her career.
Kathleen’s legal ethics and sense of professional responsibility are grounded in the recognition and respect for the spiritual basis of Indigenous laws, customs and traditions… She has been a key influencer in developing a claims resolution process that respectfully incorporates the sacred oral histories and traditional knowledge of Indigenous Elders and makes space for their expertise to help resolve complicated legal entanglements.
Since 2003, Kathleen has been engaged in private practice based out of her community of Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, continuing to advance important issues of First Nations… Furthering the work of the legal profession overall and contributing to young and forthcoming lawyers, Kathleen has also been a frequent lecturer at law schools and conferences across Canada… Kathleen serves the profession as co-Chair of the Law Society of Ontario’s Indigenous Advisory Group and recently received the Law Society Medal.
In closing, Kathleen’s commitment to positive incremental change has been inherited in part from her grandfather, Norman Lickers, who was the first Indigenous lawyer called to the Bar in Ontario. In some ways, Kathleen learns her sure-footed dance in law as a means to showcase the contributions Indigenous Peoples can make, from among her greatest influencers – family.
… Kathleen is a true legal warrior who exudes the grace, humility and gentleness of a traditional dancer. Without a doubt she is the kind of person who not only would be an outstanding recipient of the Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel designation in 2018 but is the kind of person who enriches the legal profession overall.”
Ms. Lickers was welcomed by nineteen legal warriors who have been designated as Indigenous Peoples Counsel. The current IPC include J. Wilton Littlechild, Roberta Jamieson, Paul L.A.H. Chartrand, David C. Nahwegahbow, Delia Opekokew, James [Sákéj] Youngblood Henderson, Don Worme, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafonde, Roger Jones, Darlene Johnson, Mark Stevenson, C. Murray Sinclair, Jean Teillet, John Borrows, Dianne Corbiere, Eileen Sasakamoose, Kimberly R.Murray, Val Napoleon and Candice S. Metallic.