Rick Salter was a founding partner of Pape Salter Teillet LLP and had a lifelong career specializing in Indigenous rights law, land claims and self-government. On January 1, 2015, Rick retired from the practice of law, but he continues to consult with PST and its clients.
Before his retirement, Rick served as legal counsel to Canada’s First Nations at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. As legal counsel to the Yukon First Nations, he served as a negotiator for many landmark agreements, including the Yukon Umbrella Land Claims Agreement, the Little Salmon/Carmacks Final and Self- Government Agreement, and the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun Agreement. Rick led the legal team for the negotiation of the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement and negotiated the impact benefits agreements between the Tlicho Nation and Diavik, DeBeers and BHP.
Rick provided legal counsel to First Nations and Métis communities across Canada. His innovative community-based negotiation strategies ensured the full and informed participation of all members of Indigenous groups in negotiating their land claims and self-government agreements.
Before studying law, Rick worked with Stan Daniels at the Métis Association of Alberta and Harold Cardinal at the Indian Association of Alberta and he served as a core staff organizer, along with George Manuel, assisting those organizations in setting up community development programs. Rick later worked with George Manuel at the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. He taught sociology at community colleges, including Mount Currie reserve in B.C., and handled recruitment and operations at the Company of Young Canadians. Rick is pleased that many of the CYC volunteers are still, to this day, Indigenous and community leaders. It was the cumulative experience of community and political work that eventually let him to the decision to pursue law school in order to further the legal objectives of First Nations and Métis communities across Canada.
Rick received his LL.B from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law.