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Descendent of Riel Received Law Society’s First Ever Lincoln Alexander Award
Toronto - Métis lawyer Jean Teillet is being recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada for her outstanding contributions and commitment to the legal profession and to community service. The great grand niece of Louis Riel, Ms. Teillet is awarded the Law Society's Lincoln Alexander Award for her work as a mentor, a teacher, and her commitment to advancing Aboriginal issues.

This year marks the first year the award, created in honour of The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, P.C., C.C., O. Ont., Q.C., will be conferred. The award is presented as part of the Law Society Medals ceremony.

"Each year, the Law Society honours select members of the Ontario Bar who have made a lasting contribution to the profession, and who through their service to the public have helped promote access to the profession, to legal services and to justice," explained Law Society Treasurer, Professor Vern Krishna, Q.C. "With the introduction of the Lincoln Alexander Award we can also honour someone like Ms. Teillet who has dedicated much of her career to community service and to advancing the rights of Ontario's citizens."

Treasurer Krishna explained that Ms. Teillet, who has dedicated much of her practice to Aboriginal rights law, was selected because of her tireless efforts to ensure Canada's Métis and Aboriginal peoples have full and equal access to the law. Since 1996, Ms. Teillet has been a tutor and mentor to Aboriginal students at the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta and Osgoode Hall Law School. As a founding member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, founding President of the Métis Nation Lawyers Association, and former Treasurer and Vice-President of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, she has freely devoted her time and efforts to the Aboriginal community.

"Ms. Teillet's dedication to serving the public, to advancing the administration of justice, and her commitment to the Aboriginal community exemplifies the spirit of the Lincoln Alexander Award. She is a shining example for Ontario's legal profession and for Ontario's communities," continued Treasurer Krishna.

The Law Society of Upper Canada's role is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by: ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct; and upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession; for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law. Visit us online at www.lsuc.on.ca.

Editor's Note: Biographical information about Jean Teillet attached.

For further information contact: Lucy Rybka-Becker at (416) 947-7619 or email at lrybka@lsuc.on.ca, or Giang Nguyen at (416) 947-2061 or email at Gnguyen@lsuc.on.ca.

2002 Lincoln Alexander Award
Biographical Information - Jean Teillet

2002 marks the first year that the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander Award will be handed out. Jean Teillet receives this award for her work as a mentor, teacher and an outstanding member of the legal profession.

  • Is the great grand niece of Louis Riel

  • Called to the Bar in Ontario, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories

  • Practises with the firm of Pape & Salter. Primary focus of her practice has been to assist in the development of a healthy space for Aboriginal people within Canadian society, particularly the Métis.

  • Former Treasurer and Vice-President of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada.

  • Founding member of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

  • Founding President of Métis Nation Lawyers Association.

  • Founder of the National Aboriginal Moot, a program run annually where Aboriginal law students from participating Universities hold a Moot Court to discuss and address issues relevant to the Aboriginal community.

  • An active tutor and mentor to Aboriginal law students from the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto and Osgoode Law School.

  • Sits on the Aboriginal Equity Committee at the Law Society of Upper Canada, Rotiio7 taties.

  • In 2001 went to Russia - Moscow and Siberia - as part of a Canadian-Russian Parliamentary team to study and consult with the Aboriginal people of Siberia, traditional reindeer herders, about political, environmental and social issues affecting them.

  • Has been involved in numerous Aboriginal rights litigation proceedings including:

    • R. v. Powley - brought the issue of Métis harvesting rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 before a Court of Appeal for the first time;

    • R. v. Perry - one of the early cases in Ontario dealing with the differences between the rights and protections of 'Indians', 'non-status Indians' and Métis;

    • R. v. Blais - which addressed whether or not Métis can claim the same protection granted to 'Indians' under the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, part of the Constitution of 1930.

    • The inquest into the death of Paul Alphonse, a Shuswap Indian who died while in RCMP custody;

  • Served as an advisor to the Matrix Project (the Métis Aboriginal Title Research Initiative), created to assist a Métis land claim filed in 1994, which claims rights to northwestern Saskatchewan. The Matrix project is compiling a database on land scrips issued by the federal government in the late 19th and early 20th century.

  • Three published papers: R. v. Powley: Métis Harvesting Rights in Canada, Métis In Search of Recognition and Métis Law Summary. As well, eight unpublished papers.

  • Former committee member of the Steering Committee at the National Canoe Museum, Peterborough.

  • She has presented lectures across Canada on the subject of Métis and Aboriginal rights and the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Government of Canada. She has lectured at the Law Society of Upper Canada, a Conference of the Ontario Native Justices of the Peace, the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of Manitoba, and the University of Toronto among others.

  • Prior to her call to the Bar, she produced live staged events for corporate and theatrical sponsors. She spent 25 years in the theatre as a dancer, writer, performer, teacher, choreographer and director.

  • A successful artist, many of her pieces are in private collections across North America. One piece, 'The Two Row Wampum Belt', hangs in the University of Toronto's Law School as a symbol that two different cultures can embrace different legal regimes while maintaining an open working relationship.

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