B.C. lawyer tapped to help shape National Council for Reconciliation

A Vancouver lawyer and specialist in Indigenous rights law has been appointed to a new federal interim board of directors for the National Council for Reconciliation.

Jean Teillet to represent Métis interests as board sets up framework for National Council for Reconciliation

Vancouver lawyer Jean Teillet has been named to the Interim Board of Directors for the National Council for Reconciliation. (Pape Salter Teillet LLP)

A Vancouver lawyer and specialist in Indigenous rights law has been appointed to a new federal interim board of directors for the National Council for Reconciliation.

Jean Teillet, senior counsel with the Pape Salter Teillet LLP, is one of six people named to the board by Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

"Our job is to make recommendations to the minister about the terms of reference for the national reconciliation board — the scope of it and how to get it started and up and running," said Teillet.

Teillet said the first meeting of the interim board will probably be in January.

The board has six months to create recommendations for the establishment of the National Council for Reconciliation and the endowment of a National Reconciliation Trust — two of the 94 calls to action as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Teillet, the great-grandniece of famed Métis leader Louis Riel, said she was hesitant when first approached to join the interim board because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not address Métis people who had attended residential schools.

"When the minister asked me to participate I expressed some concern about that and she said, 'no, this is about reconciliation, period — not just with First Nations. We want this to be broad and take in all indigenous people in this country.' So on that basis I said yes."

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, former Commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will chair the Interim Board. The other appointees are Max FineDay, Mike DeGagné, Clint Davis and Edith Cloutier.

Teillet has been recognized several times, including receipt of a 2011 Indigenous Peoples' Council award by the Indigenous Bar Association, and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Outside the courtroom she helped create the Métis Nation of Ontario and has served as vice-president and treasurer of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, and founding president of the Métis Nation Lawyers Association.