A Dene woman from the Northwest Territories will receive her law degree from the University of British Columbia this weekend.

Cindy Allen, a member of the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board, used to work for the Yellowknives Dene and was a treaty negotiator in the N.W.T. and B.C. That's when she decided to study law.

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen, a Dene woman from the Northwest Territories, will receive her law degree from the University of British Columbia this weekend. (courtesy of Martin Dee)

"At the negotiation table I wasn't really understanding, and it wasn't coming across to me, why things were the way they were," she said.

"It wasn't very clear to me and it wasn't very clear to the aboriginal people I was negotiating with and so I thought, you know, I should learn more about this so that I could maybe help make it more understandable to aboriginal people."

Allen says she was also inspired to become a lawyer by feeling let down with the justice system after a woman was convicted of a lesser charge in relation to the assault of Allen's grandmother.

Allen's grandmother, Mary-Adele Doctor, died in hospital in 2009 following the assault in her home. The woman convicted in the case was sentenced to 14 months in jail.

Allen says she hopes to work in the N.W.T.

Corrections

  • Cindy Allen is currently a member of the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board. Incorrect information appeared in the original version of this story.
    May 24, 2014 11:13 AM CT