Heather’s practice currently focuses on lands matters and claims negotiations. Her work includes negotiating high-value specific claims settlements and establishing legislative regimes for lands and resources for self-governing First Nations. Heather also has a solid background in on-reserve land transactions, taxation, and commercial development.
Heather began her career at Woodward and Company 17 years ago, was called to the bar in 2004, and has dedicated her practice to Indigenous governments ever since. She has clients in multiple Canadian provinces and territories and is a member of the Law Societies of BC, Yukon, and Ontario.
As a member of the litigation team in the landmark Tsilhqot’in Nation v. BC Aboriginal title case, Heather developed a deep appreciation for the role of Indigenous law, including oral history and elders knowledge, in defending and promoting constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights and shaping First Nations’ vision for the future. Respect for indigenous perspectives and laws is a core value that informs Heather’s practice.
Heather is well-recognized for contributions in her field, and is regularly called upon to speak on topics including First Nation laws, land management, and Aboriginal and treaty rights.
* Denotes a law corporation.
Selected Presentations & Publications
“Implications of Tsilhqot’in Nation v. BC for Resource Use in British Columbia”, Conference, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC Conference on Environmental Law – In the Public Interest. Vancouver, BC, September 19, 2008.
“Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia: Cultural Security and the Promise of Site-Specific Rights”, Continuing Legal Education Society Conference on Aboriginal Title. Vancouver, BC, January 18, 2008.
“Basic Principles of Drafting Off-Reserve Agreements”, Continuing Legal Education Society Conference on Aboriginal Law: Solicitors’ Issues. Vancouver, BC, October 16, 2007.
“Agreement With First Nations – Who Is The Appropriate First Nation Party?”, Canadian Bar Association Canadian Legal Conference, Vancouver, BC, August 12-14, 2012. Prepared with assistance from Simon Turner, articled student.
“Business Transactions with First Nations: Important Things You Need To Know”, CBA online program, September 27, 2012.
“Matrimonial Rent Property Law: Grounding laws under land code within indigenous law”, National Aboriginal Law Conference – Canadian Bar Association. Victoria, BC, April 12, 2013. (co-presented with Belinda Claxton)
“Indian Act Reserve Land Management & Development”, Insight: Aboriginal Land Resource Management Forum. Vancouver, BC, February 27-28, 2014.
Contributing editor, Native Law (Toronto: Carswell, 1989).
Assistant: Nancy Valencia
Member, Law Society of B.C. (2004)
Member, Law Society of Upper Canada
Member, Canadian Bar Association
Member, Canadian Bar Association Vancouver Island Aboriginal Section
Recipient of the High Commissioner for Australia’s Prize for Australian Constitutional Law (Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, 2003).
Recipient of the J.G. Ruttan Memorial Entrance Scholarship (University of Victoria Faculty of Law, 1999).
In her spare time, Heather enjoys exploring the West Coast’s natural environment with her two boys.