Ardith (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem is the firest Indigenous woman to be appointed a BC Supreme Court Justice, an announcement made in December 2020. (Cedar & Sage Law Corporation photo - cedarandsagelaw.com)

Ardith (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem is the firest Indigenous woman to be appointed a BC Supreme Court Justice, an announcement made in December 2020. (Cedar & Sage Law Corporation photo - cedarandsagelaw.com)

Ardith Walkem the first Indigenous woman named a Justice on the BC Supreme Court

‘We celebrate with Ardith this tremendous achievement’ – UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

The appointment of an Indigenous woman as judge to the BC Supreme Court was heralded with best wishes and hearty congratulations Tuesday from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

The contributions of Ardith (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem, as the organization’s legal counsel, as well with member nations over three decades, have been “immeasurable,” according to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).

Phillip cited Walkem’s “legal rigour, brilliant mind, warm sense of humour, and principled commitment” to Indigenous people and “to full and fair enactment” of Indigenous title and rights.

He predicted she‘ll stand out as “a shining light of justice” in her new role as a BC Supreme Court Justice, Phillip said in Dec. 15 release from the union of chiefs.

“We celebrate with Ardith this tremendous achievement, recognizing that her appointment makes her the first First Nations woman in this role in British Columbia.”

Walkem grew up in Spences Bridge, B.C., and is a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation. She articled with Mandell Pinder, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and McDonald and Associates before being called to the Bar in 1996.

Walkem is owner and partner at Cedar and Sage Law. She holds a bachelor of arts from McGill University and bachelor of laws and master of laws degrees from the University of British Columbia, where she has taught in the faculty of law.

“Ardith is a brave and bold thinker who challenges those around her to understand the law and different legal traditions in innovative, transformative ways,” according to Chief Don Tom, UBCIC vice-president. “Her research, work, and teaching have often focused extensively on the application and elevation of Indigenous laws, including in areas of child welfare and specific claims, and have undoubtedly changed the field.”

As the organization’s legal counsel, she was involved in overseeing electoral processes and council work of the union for more than 20 years.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, union secretary-treasurer, described the recently appointed Walkem as a “leader in reconciliation initiatives,” citing work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission advisory committees of the Law Society of BC and the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC.

“In her new role, Madam Justice Walkem will be a formidable force for justice. We are proud to call her our friend and we wish her all the best in the work ahead.

“On behalf of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, we are honoured and thrilled to celebrate Ardith’s successes today.”

READ MORE: Justice reform for Indigenous people

RELATED: Grand chief at 21 years of service

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Supreme Court

Just Posted

Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)
Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Kathleen Gilbert said without full funding, region will not be able to attract productions

A senior official with Victoria International Airport says the airport is still researching COVID-19 testing regimes but predicts testing and screening will remain part of the aviation industry even after vaccines have rolled out. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria International Airport researching COVID-19 testing options

Senior official predicts ‘screening and testing will be around long after the vaccination rollout’

Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future. Black Press file photo.
Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future

The last year was a wake up call. The environmental crisis, systemic… Continue reading

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it”

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Drisht Preet (DP) Singh was excited to be opening the first Canco Supermarket in Saltair. (Photo by Emily Weeks)
Canco’s first supermarket opens in Saltair

Reasonable prices being matched with exceptional customer service

From left to right: Geena Haiyupis, Deborah Potter and Moira Barney stand beside the canoe. It will be painted by ADSS students in the new year. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Alberni high school students paddling forward together

Canoe artwork will hang above the school’s breakfast room

Cowichan Bay tennis player Grace Haugen takes part in an exhibition at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club in 2019, which also included Canadian legends Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor. Haugen has committed to further her career at the University of Montana starting next fall. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island tennis player prepares for next step in her journey

Cowichan Bay’s Grace Haugen commits to University of Montana

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Most Read