Jean Teillet is Senior Counsel with Pape Salter Teillet LLP and specializes in Indigenous rights law.
Jean has long been engaged in negotiations and litigation with provincial and federal governments concerning Métis and First Nation land rights, harvesting rights, commercial harvesting and self-government. She has 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 with respect to Indigenous rights. She is currently the chief negotiator 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 sits on the Canadian Judicial Council Chairperson’s Advisory Group and the Indigenous Bar Association Ethics Committee. She is Vice Chair of Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation) and is on advisory boards for The Charter Project, Windsor Law School and Journal of Law & Equity, University of Toronto.
Jean is past Vice President and Treasurer of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada and a former member of the National Research Advisory Committee (Métis National Council), Equity Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and founding president of the Métis Nation Lawyers Association.
In 2002, the Law Society of Upper Canada awarded Jean the first ever Lincoln Alexander Award for community service. She was awarded the Aboriginal Justice Award in 2005 by the Native Law Students of the University of Alberta in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Indigenous justice initiatives. In 2007, the University of Windsor Faculty of Law established the Jean Teillet Access to Justice Scholarship to honour her work as a human rights lawyer. In 2011 Jean was awarded the Indigenous Peoples’ Council award by the Aboriginal Bar Association and in 2012 she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2014, Jean was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Guelph for her impact on Indigenous rights law.
Jean is a frequent author and lecturer on issues surrounding access to justice, Indigenous rights, identity and mobility. Her annual publication, the Métis Law in Canada (formerly the Métis Law Summary), is the principle resource with respect to 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 of Canadian Studies, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Native Justices of the Peace, the Universities of Alberta, Ottawa, Saskatoon and Toronto, among others. She is on the faculty at the Banff Centre for Inherent Right to Indigenous Governance and frequently lectures at the faculties of law at the Universities of British Columbia, Windsor, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Toronto, York, Ottawa and Victoria.
Jean created all four of the replica wampum belts in the collection at the Law School of the University of Toronto. The Two Row Wampum Belt that hangs in Flavelle Hall is a symbol that two different peoples can live 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 is called to the bar in Ontario, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Manitoba and Yukon.
Jean is recognized as a “consistently recommended” leading practitioner in the field of Aboriginal law in the peer rankings published by Lexpert Magazine.