Delia Opekokew

Advisory Board Member, Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice


Delia Opekokew is a Cree lawyer and writer from Canoe Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. A residential school survivor, she blazed a trail as the first Indigenous Woman First Nations lawyer to ever be admitted to the bar association in Ontario and in Saskatchewan. Opekokew represented the family and estate of Anthony O’Brien “Dudley” George, the Indigenous activist shot and killed by police in 1995, in what was known as the Ipperwash Crisis. While launching a political career –Opekokew was the first woman to run for the Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations – she continued to practice law with a specialization in Indigenous treaty rights and Aboriginal law. Delia authored “The First Nations, Indians in the Community of Man,” a landmark publication still in use at universities across Canada. Opekokew has received many awards, including The Aboriginal Achievement Award (now Indspire Awards), Women’s Law Association of Ontario President’s Award, Law Society of Ontario Medal and Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2019 Law Society of Ontario, presentation of a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD).

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