Mark Stevenson has been named an Indspire Award recipient.

Valley lawyer wins prestigious indigenous professionals award

Mark Stevenson one of the recipients for the Indspire Awards

  • Oct. 7, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Erin Halueschak

Record staff

 

A former G.P. Vanier grad and chief negotiator for the K’ómoks First Nation is receiving the highest honour the indigenous community bestows upon its own achievers.

Born in the Comox Valley, Mark Stevenson’s work in truth and justice for indigenous people is what made him one of the recipients for the Indspire Awards, to be held in Vancouver in early 2016.

“It’s very humbling to be a part of (the awards),” said Stevenson from his law office in Victoria. “From the aboriginal community, it’s the highest award that the community is involved in.”

The awards were created in 1993 in conjunction with the United Nation’s International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

They recognize indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement.

With a background in constitutional law, Stevenson began working for the Privy Council in Ottawa in 1982, focusing on indigenous constitution matters.

He was the chief treaty negotiator with the Government of British Columbia for seven years and part of the team for the Charlottetown Accord.

He has also negotiated a wide variety of agreements on behalf of Indigenous People including oil, gas and mineral revenue sharing agreements, pipeline, forestry and impact benefit agreements linked with hydro mega-projects.

Stevenson is also the founding director and past president of the Indigenous Bar Association and the founding director and former chair of the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

In 2009, he received the Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel designation from the Indigenous Bar Association for his work.

He noted coming from a Metis family originally from Alberta, aboriginal issues – whether it is Inuit, Indian or Metis – are a constant in his life.

“There is an unfairness of settlement, and unfairness in the rights of Aboriginal Peoples.

“I knew treaty negotiations were a good venue to resolve (some of the issues) and a useful tool.”

As a negotiator for the K’ómoks First Nation, Stevenson said the treaty is complicated due to an earlier land grant from the E&N Railway.

In 1875, the Railway Act expropriated a large portion of KFN traditional territory and the land grant was completed without acknowledgment of their right or title to tradition territory, and failed to compensate KFN.

A lot of the land was given away to the mining and logging industries, added Stevenson.

“(Because of that) there is now a shortage of land and timber owned by the Crown and water too because BC Hydro has a lot of it.

“This makes a very big difference (in negotiations) without water and timber.”

There are 14 categories for Indspire Awards ranging from arts to health and sports. For more information on the awards, visit indspire.ca.

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP looking for suspicious man in Courtenay

Man was frantically waving at vehicles

Comox Valley golfers prepare for another 55+ Games

Competition, camaraderie name of the game

Comox Valley firefighters assist with wildfire effort

Four Courtenay firefighters are in Fort St. James helping with the fight… Continue reading

Woman rescued from Stotan Falls calling for safety measures

3L Developments did not comment on immediate plans to add safety precautions

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Glacier View residents take a ride on the river

Ground Search and Rescue guides floaters on Puntledge

Safeway union urgest rejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

MasterChef runner-up an award-winning broker

What started as an interest turned into a global pursuit

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Most Read