Kenji Tokawa

Contact Details

Kenji Tokawa

Assistant: Natausha Furlong

A lawyer at Woodward and Company, Kenji Tokawa’s experience includes advising on self-government and Section 35 rights negotiations, legislated implementation of s. 35 rights, governance, Specific Claims, and Indigenous governments’ commercial matters.

Over the course of his career, Kenji has contributed to a high-profile national settlement agreement for First Nations regarding safe drinking water. He represented a First Nation before the Federal Court of Appeal on a successful judicial review of a Specific Claims Tribunal decision. He supported an Indigenous government to enforce an impact benefits agreement through arbitration and obtained remedy through the BC Supreme Court.

Kenji’s Japanese-Canadian family roots are in Wakayama and Hiroshima, Ucluelet, Vancouver’s downtown east-side, and New Denver, BC. His grandparents and their Japanese-Canadian communities endured dislocation and dispossession which the Canadian government promised to prevent going forward. Honouring his grandparents and this promise drew him to obtain a JD from the University of Ottawa, serve as judicial law clerk to the BC Supreme Court, serve Indigenous governments at an Aboriginal law firm in Vancouver, do a stint in s 35-related advisory work at the federal Department of Justice, and finally to join Woodward and Co.

Kenji is passionate about the redistribution of power and resources as influenced by anti-oppression work and Black Feminism. He is honoured to support Indigenous nations continue self-determination and their legal orders.


Membership & Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Law Society of BC (2016)
  • Member, CBA
  • Member, CBA BC Aboriginal Law Section -Vancouver

Practice Areas

  • Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
  • Election code
  • First Nation Constitutions, Laws & Policy
  • Governance support
  • Indigenous Legal Orders and Law
  • Land Code
  • Land Interests
  • Membership Code
  • Specific Claims

Selected Cases, Presentations & Publications

Williams Lake Indian Band v Canada, 2018 SCTC 6

We Wai Kai Nation v Canada, 2019 SCTC 4

Williams Lake First Nation v Canada, 2021 FCA 30

“Cannabis Law” at the Joint Gathering of the BC First Nations Leadership Council, Indigenous Services Canada, and Crown-Indigenous Relations, Treaties and Aboriginal Governments – Negotiations West, Vancouver, BC (2019).

“Cannabis Law: What you need to know” at the 25th National CANDO Conference for First Nations Economic Development Officers, Enoch, AB (2018).

“Case Comment on R v Kapp and Ahousaht v Canada” in Legal Issues on Indigenous Economic Development, Darwin Hanna (Ed), (Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2017).

“Van der Peet turns 20: Revisiting the rights equation and building a new test for Aboriginal rights”, (2016) UBC L Rev 49:1.

“Indigenous legal traditions and Canadian Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: Indonesian lessons for legal pluralism in Canada”, (2015) Journal of Legal Pluralism 48:1.

Past Executive Member and Legislative Liaison Officer, Canadian Bar Association – BC, Aboriginal Law Section -Vancouver