Karen Drake Appointed to Ontario Human Rights

Commissioner Karen Drake is an assistant professor at the Bora
Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and a citizen of the
Métis Nation of Ontario. Her teaching and research interests
include Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe
law and Métis law. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Lakehead
Law Journal and a commissioner with the Métis Nation of Ontario’s
Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government. She previously
clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of
Canada and currently serves on the board of directors of the
Indigenous Bar Association. Commissioner Drake resides in Thunder

Lifetime Achievement Award

Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in
congratulating Delia Opekokew on receiving a Lifetime Achievement
Award at the Strength of Our Women Gala, hosted by the Women’s
commission of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations

Alumni Horizon Award

The University of Alberta Alumni Association is
pleased to announce Mrs. Koren Lightning-Earle will receive an
Alumni Horizon Award for her legal contributions and leadership in
First Nations community relations, on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the
annual Alumni Awards ceremony.

The Alumni Horizon Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of
University of Alberta alumni early in their careers.

Koren Lightning-Earle, ’00 BA(Rec/Leisure), ’04 BA, ’07 LLB, is a
leader in the local and national Aboriginal community and a role
model for her peers and the younger generation. Lightning-Earle,
Blue Thunderbird Woman, is Cree from Samson Cree Nation. Her
commitment to enhancing the future of First Nations shows in her
many roles in her community. She is president of the Indigenous Bar
Association, vice-president of Kasohkowew Child Wellness Society,
co-chair of the First Nations Women’s Economic Security Council and
a member of the Federal Court Aboriginal Bar Liaison Committee. She
was an elected council member for Samson Cree Nation from 2011-2014
and is co-founder of Hub, a community mobilization program to help
reduce crime. She is also a sessional instructor at Maskwacis
Cultural College, a post-secondary school within the Four Nations
of Maskwacis, Alta. Lightning-Earle is married, has two young
daughters, and is the sole practitioner at Thunderbird Law in her
home community.

President of the Metis Nation of Ontario

The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada
(“IBA”) congratulates Margaret Froh on her election as President of
the Metis Nation of Ontario.

Margaret is the former President of the Indigenous Bar Association
in Canada (IBA), a national professional association of Métis,
First Nation and Inuit lawyers, judges, law professors and law
students. She is the current Chair of the IBA’s Law Student
Scholarship Foundation. She has chaired numerous committees of the
IBA, including the IBA Ethics Committee, and served as Chair of the
Steering Committee for the Accessing Justice & Reconciliation
national community-based research project working with Indigenous
communities to revitalize Indigenous law in Canada.

Women of Distinction Award

Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in
congratulating Roberta L. Jamieson, IPC upon receiving the YWCA

Posted: March 31, 2016

The President’s Award has only ever been given twice in the history
of the YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Awards, which is a real
testament to Roberta’s impact on women and girls in the Aboriginal

the Poster (PDF)

First Indigenous Minister of Justice and
Attorney General

Jody Wilson-Raybould on her appointment as
Canada’s first Indigenous Minister of Justice and Attorney General

The Indigenous Bar Association congratulates Jody Wilson-Raybould on
her appointment as Canada’s first Indigenous Minister of Justice
and Attorney General. Ms Wilson-Raybould brings a wealth of
experience and demonstrated leadership to her new role and the
Indigenous Bar Association looks forward to working with her to
address the many pressing legal issues affecting Indigenous peoples
in Canada. We commend Prime Minister Trudeau on his appointment of
Ms Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice and Attorney General and
for ensuring there is Indigenous representation in cabinet. This is
an important and historic step in renewing the relationship between
the federal government and the Indigenous Peoples of this country.

Election as Bencher


The Indigenous Bar Association congratulates Dianne Corbiere on her
election as Bencher with the Law Society of Upper Canada.

As the former President of the Indigenous Bar Association, Dianne is
an excellent advocate, role model and mentor. Dianne is committed
to advancing Indigenous rights, access to justice and for providing
opportunities for Indigenous legal students. We wish her continued
success in her legal journey.

Dianne Corbiere

Indspire Award for Law and Justice

The Indigenous Bar Association
congratulates Dr. Wilton Littlechild, IPC
 on receiving
the 2015 Indspire Award for Law and Justice.

Chief Littlechild is a respected lawyer and operates the law firm of
J. Wilton Littlechild, Barrister and Solicitor, which is situated
in the Ermineskin Reserve.  He is a strong advocate for the rights
of Indigenous Peoples and promoter of implementation of the
treaties between the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Crown.
 Chief Littlechild served as the Chairperson for the Commission on
First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform, mandated to
review the justice system in the province of Saskatchewan and
currently is a Commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of Canada.

Indigenous Bar Association Applauds Supreme
Court Decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia (William

OTTAWA — The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA), applauds the William
decision handed down today in a unanimous judgment by the Supreme
Court of Canada. The IBA, a national association of Indian, Inuit
and Metis lawyers, judges and laws students intervened in the case,
urging the Court to consider the importance of Indigenous laws in
articulating a test for Aboriginal title. The Court’s decision
rejected arguments made by the Federal Government and the BC
Government that Aboriginal title required proof of intensive
physical occupancy, in what has been widely criticized as the
“postage stamp” theory of aboriginal title. In denouncing the Crown
theory of Aboriginal title, the Court opted instead for a
territorial-based test for proving Aboriginal title, which gives
equal weight to Indigenous laws and the Aboriginal perspective.

The IBA President, Koren Lightning-Earle stated: “The IBA would like
to congratulate the Chief William and Tsilhqot’in People for
bringing us this important victory. We are happy to have been a
part of this landmark case.”

The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the BC Court of Appeal,
which was based on the postage stamp theory, and upheld the
judgment of Justice Vickers of the BC Supreme Court, finding that
the Trial Judge’s decision contained no palpable and overriding
error. The Court also held that Justice Vickers applied the correct
legal test, and, in rejecting Crown arguments, held that:

“In summary, what is required is a culturally sensitive approach
to sufficiency of occupation based on the dual perspectives of
the aboriginal group in question – its laws, practices, size,
technological ability and the character of the land claimed –
and the common law notion of possession as a basis for title.”

David C. Nahwegahbow, IPC, LSM, who acted as legal counsel for the
IBA in the case, said:

“This was IBA’s first intervention and we are thrilled that it was
such a positive outcome. The decision is historic because it is the
first time since the entrenchment of Aboriginal rights in the
Constitution Act, 1982, that the Supreme Court has issued such a
declaration of Aboriginal title.”

The case is also important for making it clear once and for all that
the doctrine of terra nullius has no place, and is not part of
Canadian law. “Terra Nullius” means “empty land” and is a racist
doctrine that legitimized the taking of Indigenous lands by
European powers during the colonial period on the basis that lands
occupied by Indigenous peoples were open for the taking because
Indigenous peoples were not sufficiently civilized to be considered
occupants of the land.

The case sends a strong signal to both federal and provincial
governments to negotiate meaningfully with Aboriginal peoples, or
face the prospects that the courts are now prepared to give force
to Aboriginal and treaty rights in sect 35 of the Constitution Act,
1982. The Supreme Court emphasized the importance of obtaining
Aboriginal consent for development on their lands. The reference to
consent is significant particularly in light of UN Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which called for free prior and
informed consent before development on Indigenous lands.

Koren Lightning-Earle concluded: “The Supreme Court of Canada has
issued a very balanced ruling in the William decision, reflective
of a country whose legal system is rooted in both common law and
indigenous legal traditions.”

The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (IBA) is a non-profit
professional organization for Indian, Inuit and Métis persons
trained in the field of law. IBA membership consists of Indigenous
lawyers, judges, law professors, legal consultants and law
students. The primary purpose of the IBA is to promote respect and
recognition of Indigenous laws.

Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at:

klightning-earle@indigenousbar.ca or
at 780.721.2345 or
David C. Nahwegahbow at: dndaystar@nncfirm.ca or
(705) 325-0520 or (613) 795-1504

2012 President’s Award

Congratulations to Delia
Opekokew, IPC
 on receiving the 2012 President’s
Award from the Women’s Law Association of Ontario.

Delia Opekokew

In recognition of her outstanding service within the profession and
her leadership role in advancing the position of women and women
lawyers in Ontario.

Top 25 Most Influential in the Justice System
and legal profession

The Indigenous Bar Association would like to
congratulate Dianne Corbiere on being named as one
of the Top 25 Most Influential in the Justice System and
legal profession
 in the Changemaker Category by
Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Dianne Corbiere

Dianne Corbiere is a member of M’Chigeeng First Nation and has been
a partner with her firm Nahwegahbow Corbiere since 2000. She is a
past president of the Indigenous Bar Association. She is an avid
advocate and volunteer for the Indigenous Bar Association we are
honoured to have her as a member. She is a strong Indigenous Female
Lawyer who is a great role model for all Lawyers. http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/4261/the-top-25-most-influential.html


Canadian Lawyer 25 Most Influential Lawyers 2012

Congratulations to Dianne Corbiere, Don
Worme Q.C., & Chief Doug White on their nominations for
Canadian Lawyer 25 Most Influential Lawyers 2012.

People can vote at http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/current-survey.html.
Results will be published in August 2012 of Canadian Lawyer.

Indigenous Lawyers Win the Social
Responsibility Award in the 2011 Canadian General Counsel Awards

Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in congratulating the
Chippewas of Rama First Nation General Counsel’s Office — IBA
members Jeffery Hewitt, Margaret Froh and Sheri Wilson — upon
receiving the Social Responsibility Award in the 2011 Canadian
General Counsel Awards. The Social Responsibility Award is a new
award given to a law department with a sustained commitment to
making a difference in their community through the promotion of pro
bono and/or diversity initiatives. The Rama General Counsel’s
Office is sharing this award with the Royal Bank of Canada in
recognition of their community centered approach to providing
in-house legal services.

For more info about the CGC Awards click

Roberta Jamieson named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2011

December 1, 2011 – Roberta Jamieson, National
Aboriginal Achievement Foundation President and CEO has been named
one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2011 in the Trailblazers
& Trendsetters category.

With a community of 584 women that have received the Top 100™ Award,
this year Ms. Jamieson joins a number of influential women, Dr.
Carol Stephenson, Dean, Richard Ivey School of Business; Elyse
Allan, President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Canada; Janet
Holder, President, Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.; The Honourable
Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate; Margaret
Atwood, Author; and Deepa Mehta, Director, Producer and
“Roberta has been at the forefront of virtually
every field of endeavour she has pursued. From graduating as
Canada’s first First Nations woman to earn a law degree to being
the first woman elected Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River
Territory, Roberta is virtually the definition of Trailblazer &
Trendsetter,” said National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Board
Chair, David Tuccaro.

“I am honoured to be among some of the most distinguished and
inspirational women in the country. I am delighted that I am able
to bring awareness to the potential that all Indigenous people,
especially our youth possess.”

The Women’s Executive Network which runs the Top 100™ Awards, is
Canada’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement and
recognition of women in management, executive, professional and
board roles.

This is Ms. Jamieson’s third time as a recipient of Women’s
Executive Network’s Top 100™ Award.

To read Ms. Jamieson’s full biography, please visit: naaf.ca/departments

David C. Nahwegahbow, I.P.C. – Recipient of
the 2011 Law Society of Upper Canada Medal

David C. Nahwegahbow

Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in congratulating David
C. Nahwegahbow, I.P.C., upon receiving a Law Society of Upper
Canada Medal.

The Law Society’s Medal is awarded to outstanding lawyers in Ontario
in recognition of exceptional service. David is a founding member
of the IBA and former IBA President. David has been widely
recognized as an expert in Aboriginal Law and has long been an
outstanding role model for Indigenous lawyers in Canada. David was
named an ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel’ or ‘IPC’ by the IBA in 2003,
and in 2008 he received both the National Aboriginal Achievement
Award for Law and Justice and the Anishnabek Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Union of Ontario Indians.

David will receive the LSUC Medal in a public awards ceremony on
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at the Law Society of Upper Canada, Osgoode
Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto. The ceremony begins at 5:30pm
and will be followed by a reception. We hope you will join us at
the Awards to celebrate David’s achievements. For more info click


Roger Jones, I.P.C. – Recipient of the 2011
National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Law & Justice

Roger Jones

Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in congratulating Roger
Jones, I.P.C., upon receiving the 2011 National
Aboriginal Achievement Award for Law & Justice.
was the founding president of the IBA and has long been recognized
for his contributions to law and policy advancing the interests of
Indigenous Peoples in Canada and beyond. He has been a wonderful
role model for young Indigenous lawyers and served as mentor to
For more info click here…

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