|Pamela D. Palmater (LLB’97) is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in Northern New Brunswick. She has been a practicing lawyer for over 18 years and is an associate professor and the chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. She began her advocacy career during her law degree at UNB.
Palmater has been studying, volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of social and legal issues, such as poverty, housing, child and family services, treaty rights, education and legislation impacting First Nations.
She has been recognized with many awards for her social justice advocacy on behalf of Indigenous women and children, and most recently for her work related to murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.
Palmater has used her four university degrees (bachelor of arts, bachelor of laws, master of laws, doctor in the science of law) to help empower First Nations. Palmater came in second place in the Assembly of First Nations election for National Chief in 2012 and was one of the spokespeople, organizers and public educators for Idle No More movement in 2012-13.
Her work with First Nations has earned her the 2012 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Social Justice, the 2012 Women’s Courage Award in Social Justice, Bertha Wilson Honour Society 2012 and Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 2013 Top 5 Most Influential Lawyer in the Human Rights category.
In addition to publishing numerous magazine articles, legal academic journals and invited news editorials, Palmater has also published two books: Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity by Purich Publishing and Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens by Fernwood Publishing. In addition to being called as an expert witness at Parliamentary and Senate committees, she is also a well-known speaker, presenter and educator on Indigenous issues across Canadian and international audiences, having spoken in Samoa, Hawaii, Peru, Switzerland and England.
From: University of New Brunswick 188th Encaenia