Jean Teillet IPC (BFA, LL.B, LL.M)

Counsel Emeritus 

As of January 1, 2024, Jean Teillet is retired and no longer entitled to practice law. As of that date, Ms. Teillet is Emeritus Counsel with Pape Salter Teillet LLP.

Jean was long engaged in negotiations and litigation with provincial and federal governments concerning Métis and First Nation land rights, harvesting rights and self-government. She served as counsel before all levels of court, including lead counsel for the landmark case R. v. Powley in which the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed constitutional protection of Métis harvesting rights. Among other significant Indigenous rights cases, she was co-counsel with Arthur Pape in Taku River Tlingit First Nation v. B.C., the companion case to Haida Nation v. B.C., in which the Supreme Court of Canada established consultation requirements. For fourteen years she was a negotiation advisor for the Sto:lo Xwexwilmexw in the BC treaty process and was part of the Pape Salter Teillet LLP legal team on the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement negotiations.

Jean was a founder of the Métis Nation of Ontario and the National Aboriginal Moot. She sat on the MMIWG Federal Sub-Working group. Jean is past Vice President and Treasurer of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada and a former member of the Canadian Judicial Council Chairperson’s Advisory Group, the National Research Advisory Committee (Métis National Council) and the Equity Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

In 2020 Jean’s popular history The North-West is Our Mother won the Carol Shields History Award and was shortlisted for the Canadian Law and Society Association W. Wesley Pue Book Prize. She was awarded the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross for service to Canada. She has been made an honorary lifetime member of the Association of Ontario Midwives for her contributions to Ontario midwifery. Jean was awarded the Indigenous Peoples’ Council award by the Indigenous Bar Association and she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Law Society of Upper Canada’s first ever Lincoln Alexander Award for community service. Jean has three honorary doctorates from the University of Guelph, the Law Society of Ontario and Windsor University.

Jean is a frequent author and lecturer on issues surrounding access to justice, Indigenous rights, identity, and history. Her annual publication, Métis Law in Canada was the principle resource on Métis rights and case law. She has presented internationally in Russia, Poland, Israel, Japan, United States and China. In Canada, she has spoken at conferences for the National Judicial Institute, Association for Canadian Studies, the Law Society of Ontario, the Ontario Native Justices of the Peace, the Universities of Alberta, Ottawa, Saskatoon, and Toronto, among others. She has been on faculty at the Banff Centre and the Allard School of Law where she taught self-government negotiation, methodologies for understanding traditional Indigenous law, constitutional law, and Métis law. She frequently lectured at the faculties of law across the country.

In 2019 Jean wrote a popular history, The North-West is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel’s People, the Métis Nation, which was published by HarperCollins and was listed as one of the Globe & Mail’s top 100 books of 2019. In 2024 the Vancouver Chamber Choir will premiere a Métis suite of songs she wrote in collaboration with Métis composer Pat Carrabre. Jean has been a fibre artist for over forty years and she created all four of the replica wampum belts in the collection at the Law School of the University of Toronto. One belt, the Two-Row Wampum Belt, hangs in Flavelle Hall at the Law School. Jean also created another belt for the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw called the S’ólh Lets’emót Swṓqw’elh. Both the Swṓqw’elh and the Two-Row Wampum Belt are symbols of two different peoples living together with different laws and customs within a relationship built on respect and truth.

Jean received her LL.B and LL.M from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Jean has been recognized as a “best lawyer” in Vancouver by Best Lawyers in Canada and as a “leading lawyer” nationally by Chambers & Partners. She was ranked as one of the “most frequently recommended” leading practitioners in the field of Indigenous law in the peer rankings published by Lexpert Magazine.

Jean currently sits on the boards of PEN Canada, the Glenbow Museum, Indspire, and Save the Children Canada.

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  • York University, BFA
  • University of Toronto, LL.B
  • University of Toronto, LL.M