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OTTAWA, ON – The Indigenous Bar Association is honoured to designate the Honourable Gerald Morin as Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel (IPC) at the 35th Annual Conference of the Indigenous Bar Association. Each year, the IPC designation is given to an Indigenous lawyer in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the practice of law. Specifically, it honours those individuals who have worked to advance the goals and objectives of the IBA and who have served their community and the Creator with honour and integrity.
Mr. Morin is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and was born and raised in Cumberland House, SK.
His nomination letter, written by fellow IPC, David Nahwegahbow, highlights his many achievements. He writes:
Gerry’s career accomplishments are no secret. He obtained a degree in Social Work in 1978 and worked as a probation officer in Northern Saskatchewan, prior to entering the legal profession. Justice Morin earned his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987, and practised law with the Pandila, Morin, Nahachewsky Law Office in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In 2001, Justice Morin was appointed to the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan where his ability to speak Cree and his experience growing up in the north highlighted the value of legitimizing Cree in 2 the Court system. Having become well-known for sitting on the provincial Cree court circuit that provided culturally sensitive legal services to Cree-speaking clients in northern Saskatchewan, Justice Morin was also appointed to the bench in the Northwest Territories in 2008, as well as the Yukon in 2016. The Cree court circuit was instrumental in making the Cree language a part of provincial and territorial court systems. By highlighting the importance of the Cree language to the Cree way of life, Justice Morin contributed to moving the court system toward fairness and access to justice in Canada for all Indigenous peoples.
In a letter of support, fellow IPC members, Helen Semaganis and Donald Worme, added:
Gerry has over the course of his career has also acted as a mentor to Indigenous students, lawyers and young members of the bench. The Indigenous Bar has very few retired judges, and fortunately, Gerry takes this responsibility to share his wisdom learned on the Bench seriously. Having Justice Morin available to provide sage advice is an incredible benefit to the Indigenous bar.
IBA President Drew Lafond, commented that, Mr. Morin’s “proficiency in the nehiyaw language set him apart from his cohorts on the bench. Mr. Morin paved the way for Indigenous lawyers in Saskatchewan by becoming the first fluent nehiyaw speaker to serve as a judge and the first Indigenous person in the province to receive a Queen’s Counsel designation and to preside over the Cree Court Circuit in northern Saskatchewan until his retirement in 2019.”
In addition to the above accomplishments, Mr. Morin was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada by the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada earlier this year.
Mr. Morin was welcomed by those IPCs in attendance at the IBA’s annual conference held this year at Casino Rama on the Chippewas of the Rama First Nation during the gala reception. He addressed the membership after he was blanketed and gave tribute to his family and community for their unwavering support.
The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples. For mor information please visit www.indigenousbar.ca.