Lawyer highlights court cases and the Douglas Treaties

March 16, 2012 - 5:30am

Louise Mandell, Q.C., will speak at Vancouver Island University March 20 on Litigating the Douglas Treaties.

Her talk, 7-8:30 pm, in Building 355, Room 203, Nanaimo campus, is the final presentation prior to the Vancouver Island Treaties Conference that VIU is co-hosting with Snuneymuxw First Nation May 10 and 11.

Mandell is among a group of panelists with extensive background on First Nations issues who will offer a broad perspective on the Pre-Confederation Treaties of Vancouver Island.

For over 30 years, Mandell has been one of the major thinkers and influential actors in the area of law involving Aboriginal and treaty rights. Early on in her career, she worked for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs under the guidance of the late Grand Chief George Manuel, president of UBCIC and of the World Council of Indigenous People.

Since then, she has worked as a litigator on behalf of numerous First Nations clients and has been involved in several high-profile court cases, including many of those involving rights guaranteed under the 19th century Vancouver Island (Douglas) Treaties. Her work has served to structure the environment in which discussions on Aboriginal rights and title occur today.

The conference, to be held at the Nanaimo campus May 10 and 11, will be opened by the Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and will bring together people from a variety of vantage points – First Nations, academic, various levels of government, industry, the public and others.

The overarching theme of the conference is “The Pre-Confederation Treaties of Vancouver Island – Fulfilling Treaty Promises and Living in Treaty Relationships”. Within this overarching theme, four main sub-themes have been selected for special consideration. They will be explored through presentations by panels of scholars and experts, followed by discussions with conference participants.

The three sub-themes are:

• Honouring the Spirit and Intent of the Pre-Confederation Treaties of Vancouver Island – The Challenges of Treaty Interpretation

• Charting a New Course for Treaty Implementation

• The Pre-Confederation Treaties of Vancouver Island and Decision Making

Event details:

What: Litigating the Douglas Treaties

When: 7-8:30 pm, March 20, 2012

Where: Building 355, Room 203, Nanaimo Campus

Note: Registration is not required but space is limited. Followed by light snacks

On the web:

Vancouver Island Treaties Conference:

VI Treaties Conference registration:

Mandell Pinder LLP:

Background: (from

Louise Mandell, Q.C. Of counsel, Mandell Pinder LLP

On January 1, 2011, Louise moved out of the day to day practice of law - she remains connected in the esteemed capacity 'of counsel' to the firm.

On behalf of her many First Nations clients, Louise has, for three decades, devoted her professional life to the advancement of their aboriginal and treaty rights. She was brought into the area of aboriginal law when it was in its infancy, working under the direction of the late Grand Chief George Manuel, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Louise has been one of the major conceptual thinkers in this area of the law, shaping the legal and evidentiary principles which have been accepted by the courts at every level and found reflection in the existing state of the law. Her tireless spirit, creativity and devotion have been acknowledged by her clients and by her colleagues in the many awards she has received.

In addition to litigating major cases contouring the dynamics of Aboriginal/crown relations, she provides legal options, presents claims to government, and negotiates settlements on behalf of aboriginal peoples.

She has made presentations to Standing Committees of the House of Commons and, in the last few years, has been a speaker on every aspect of native rights at over twenty conferences sponsored by the Pacific Business and Law Institute, The Canadian Institute, Continuing Legal Education Society, Insight Information, Banff Centre for Management, Australian Racism Conference, to name a few.

Louise is an engaging public speaker and is committed to passing on her knowledge through her involvement in continuing legal education workshops and forums.

Louise was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1997. She is married and the mother of two children, Max and Sarah.

Firm's Vision

Mandell Pinder LLP was established in 1983 to serve Aboriginal peoples in their efforts to protect and enhance their way of life, secure their title and rights over their homelands, and build prosperous and thriving communities now and for future generations. Since then, by advancing test cases, establishing important precedents and developing new legal concepts shaped by the wisdom and experience of the elders, the firm has provided legal and strategic advice to First Nations.
Aboriginal peoples' aspirations are multifold, having cultural, spiritual, economic and political dimensions. The legal system can be a tool to further these aspirations. We collaborate with our clients to ensure that the legal work we do is firmly grounded in the unique knowledge, heritage and experience of Aboriginal peoples, while delivering the highest standard of legal service.
In all of our practice areas – litigation, economic and community development, consultation, negotiation and mediation – we seek to ensure that the law is used as an agent for positive change for Aboriginal communities, to assist them in realizing their goals.

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