Judge Mary Ellen Turpel- Lafond is the First Treaty
Indian appointed as a judge in Saskatchewan. She has been
sitting as a Provincial Court Judge in Saskatoon since
1988. Judge Lafond is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree
Prior to her appointment, Judge Lafond was a practising lawyer in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan and a tenured professor of law at Dalhousie University Faculty of Law. Judge Lafond has taught law at a number of schools, including the University of Toronto and the University of Notre Dame. She has represented First Nation individuals and organizations for over 15 years; including the Native Women's Association of Canada; the Assembly of First Nations; the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs; the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, among others.
Judge Lafond has several degrees and is one of the most highly educated judges in Saskatchewan. She holds a B.A. (Carleton University), LL.B (Osgoode Hall Law School ), LL.M (Cambridge University) and a doctorate in law from Harvard University.
Judge Lafond is married to George E. Lafond, the Vice-Chief of the Saskatoon Tribal Coucil. They have a daughter, Alphonsine, and a large extended family in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Judge Lafond has worked for many years to build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, based on the teaching of the Elders of kindness and respect. While this work has presented many challenges, especially over the past few years on the bench, Judge Lafond believes that the future will be built through First Nations being involved in all levels of Canadian society as equals and with recognition of the distinct heritage and rights of all peoples.
Judge Lafond was chosen by Time Magazine in 1994 as one of the 100 Global Leaders. In September 1999, Time Magazine again named her as one of the top 20 Canadian Leaders for the next millenium.
Two articles that appeared in The Indigenous Times:
One article that appeared in the Saskatchewan Sage:
Links: (click on X in top right corner of outside link to return to photo gallery)