I first became interested in the history and culture of the Indigenous Peoples in what we currently know as Canada at a young age. This interest grew as I pursued my undergraduate studies, and by law school I knew that I wanted to work on behalf of Indigenous communities seeking recognition and protection of their rights.
As an advocate, my objective is to work with our clients to identify and understand their legal needs and provide strategic advice to assist them in achieving their goals. At First Peoples Law, I’m able to do this work as part of a team of people dedicated to providing effective legal support to Indigenous Peoples across Canada.
My commitment to this advocacy work extends beyond my law practice. As a member of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, I work with a group of volunteer lawyers to provide legal knowledge to communities in Kenya negatively impacted by resource extraction activities.
I chose to enter the legal profession because I believe that law can be used as a vehicle to achieve positive social change, especially in relation to the long and challenging process of decolonization. Since joining First Peoples Law, I have had the privilege of working with and for Indigenous Peoples across Canada to advance their inherent and treaty rights. My commitment to deepening my understanding of these issues also led me to complete a Master’s of Law at the University of British Columbia, with a focus on the interpretation of Indigenous-Crown treaties. My most recent article on treaty interpretation, “Agreeing to Share: Treaty 3, History & the Courts," was published in the UBC Law Review.
I am a founding member of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, a legal clinic based at Osgoode Hall and Thompson Rivers University which provides advocacy and support to communities affected by transnational corporate activities and resource extraction.
Growing up on a small island off the Pacific west coast, I learned early about the close relationship between the environment and the people who live there. I try to bring my respect for the natural world to my practice and to my life with my family in Vancouver, B.C.
I moved to Vancouver to pursue my master’s in community and regional planning which is where I began to learn and unlearn the history of Indigenous Peoples and their ongoing pursuit for justice. I didn’t expect to work at a law firm but I was drawn to First Peoples Law’s committed approach to advocacy that is founded on respect and humility. First Peoples Law provides me an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with clients and to continue my ongoing exploration of the intersections of community planning and the law.
As the project manager, I work closely with my colleagues to make sure our clients have a positive experience and that their needs are met. My role is to support our great team of lawyers in helping our clients define and realize their goals effectively and strategically.
Away from my desk, I love playing hockey, biking, skiing, and doing crosswords with friends.
For me, advocacy is bred in the bone.
My ancestors experienced the disloyalty of the French and British, the Acadian Explusion, the conquest of New France, the dispossession at Red River and government's refusal to honour the numbered Treaties.
I was focused on working for social justice through an academic career in history until I began working in the law on what I expected to be a temporary basis. That was over 20 years ago. My work introduced me to a world of principled, high quality legal advocacy that led me back to university for a law degree and, eventually, to establish First Peoples Law.
First Peoples Law combines my passions for law, history and social justice. Most importantly, it allows me to work with other committed professionals in supporting Indigenous Peoples' ongoing struggle for respect and justice.
I am a third year law student at the University of Victoria studying in the joint degree program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders, following undergraduate studies in philosophy and astronomy. I am a settler of Irish and English ancestry and grew up as a guest in Syilx Territory in Kelowna.
Previously, I worked as a research fellow at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, and most recently as a research analyst in the appraisal field of historical valuation. I have a deep interest in both Aboriginal and Indigenous Law and am grateful to be learning from such an experienced and passionate legal team at First Peoples Law.
Away from work, you can find me photographing stars, reading plays and making community radio.
I moved from the sunny beaches of the Gold Coast, Australia to British Columbia in 2013 and began working at First Peoples Law. Immediately I knew that this was a passionate group of people and I appreciated the less traditional structure of the firm that encouraged creativity and a new way of doing things. To learn and grow with the firm continues to be a great experience and I’m glad to offer administrative support to the lawyers in their meaningful and important work.
Outside of the office, you will find me mountain biking, hiking, trail running or paddle boarding. I serve on the Board of Directors for the Tri-Cities Off Road Cycling Association, we advocate for and maintain our local trail network to ensure the trails are environmentally sustainable, safe and accessible for recreation. Working with local land managers, First Nations, fish hatcheries and other user groups has taught me a lot about the coastal rain forest, biodiversity and the climate unique to the Pacific North West - I even love the rain! (although that took some getting used to). I also lead beginner mountain bike rides, coach at an elementary school bike club, volunteer and participate in a number of adventure and mountain bike race events.
As a Stó:lō & Dakelh Ts’eke, I chose to enter the legal profession because of my late ‘Utsoo (granny) and Keyohwhudachun (Hereditary Chief), Sally Sam (née A’huille), who instilled in her grandchildren unwavering values and principles for advocating and protecting our home, the Maiyoo Keyoh (traditional Indigenous customary territory and group). The transference of teachings over time, aligned with my education, experiences on the land, and in boardrooms, propelled my life in a direction towards law. In following the path of my Ancestors, I am committed to advocating and protecting Indigenous peoples, territories, and laws across what is now called Canada.
I have served as vice-president to the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Indigenous Law Students Association, a TRU Law Research student, and part of a Government-to-Government table.
Beyond my pursuits in law, I enjoy being on the land, where my family and I harvest for the winter months and take in all that our Indigenous classroom has to offer. If not on the land, I enjoy reading, traveling, learning Indigenous languages, and supporting Indigenous hockey. Awet-za.