Chair

David C. Knoll, Knoll & Co. Law Corporation, Surrey, BC. Mr. Knoll has been practising in the area of Aboriginal law for 30 years, with an emphasis, in the last 25 years, on specific claims preparation and negotiation. He writes and speaks frequently on a broad range of First Nation matters. Mr. Knoll has worked on land claim matters in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick. He has provided advice to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the Assembly of First Nations and to tribal councils in several provinces on a variety of issues. He has been involved in the preparation of over 52 claims and involved in the settlement of approximately 31. Mr. Knoll has appeared before provincial and superior courts on Aboriginal issues, has held hearings before the Indian Claims Commission and has participated in proceedings before the Specific Claims Tribunal.

Faculty

Stan H. Ashcroft, Principal, Ashcroft & Company, West Vancouver, BC. Mr. Ashcroft was called to the Bar in BC in 1983. He currently acts for 19 First Nations and various other Aboriginal groups throughout British Columbia. In 1982, while still articling, Mr. Ashcroft began acting for the Westbank First Nation and he has continuously done so to the present. He has acted for nine of his First Nation clients for in excess of 20 years. Mr. Ashcroft provides advice to First Nations and Aboriginal organizations on a wide range of issues and topics including litigation, specific claims, corporate structuring, business opportunities, administration and governance, labour issues, accommodation agreements with government and industry, development and implementation of land codes, and partnerships with industrial and commercial proponents. He began to undertake specific claims on behalf of his First Nation clients in 1984 and since then has filed over 60 claims with the Specific Claims Branch.
 
 
Jayme Benson, Director, Indian Rights and Treaties Research Programme, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), Saskatoon, SK. After graduating with a Master’s degree in History from the University of Ottawa, Mr. Benson undertook contract research with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner in Saskatchewan. In 1998, he was hired as a research and policy analyst with FSIN preparing historical reports on a number of potential Saskatchewan First Nation specific claims. In 2006, he became the Director of the FSIN Indian Rights and Treaties Research Programme, which works on the development of specific claims for Saskatchewan First Nations. Mr. Benson has been involved in a number of specific claim negotiations, including Sturgeon Lake Timber claim, Sturgeon Lake Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE), George Gordon’s TLE, Muskoday TLE, Pasqua TLE, the Little Red Timber claim and the Cote Surrenders, as well as a number of claims currently in negotiation. He has worked with the Assembly of First Nations on a number of files including working groups set up to implement Justice at Last: Specific Claims Action Plan and the Joint Working Group set up to reform the Additions to Reserve (ATR) policy.
 
Allan Donovan, Founder, Donovan & Company, Vancouver, BC. Mr. Donovan has practised Aboriginal law and represented First Nations for over 24 years. He has worked extensively in all areas of Aboriginal law including Aboriginal rights and title, negotiations, litigation, specific claims, residential schools, taxation and business development, and Aboriginal governance. Mr. Donovan has represented First Nations and Aboriginal people at the Supreme Court of Canada, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the British Columbia Supreme Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Canada, the Tax Court of Canada, the British Columbia Provincial Court, the Indian Claims Commission and the Specific Claims Tribunal. He is recognized by the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading practitioner in the area of Aboriginal Law. In addition, he has been recognized as a leading lawyer in Canada in the area of Aboriginal Law in every edition of Best Lawyers in Canada.
 
Dr. Bruce Stadfeld McIvor, Principal, First Peoples Law, Vancouver, BC. Dr. McIvor, lawyer and historian, is the principal of First Peoples Law, a Vancouver-based law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and treaty rights. Dr. McIvor has represented First Nations at all levels of court and assists First Nations in British Columbia and Ontario in the preparation and negotiation of specific claims. Dr. McIvor holds a law degree, a PhD in Aboriginal and environmental history, and is a Fulbright Scholar. He is extremely proud of his Red River Métis heritage. His family lineage includes Cree and Anishinaabe women, Scottish men from the Orkneys and Outer Hebrides, coureurs de bois, and two of the oldest French and Acadian families in North America.
 
Tonio Sadik, PhD, Associate Director, Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Ottawa, ON. Mr. Sadik is an experienced consultant and negotiator, and teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. He was involved in the establishment of the Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada in 2008 and is the current technical lead for the AFN on discussions with Canada relating to comprehensive claims and Additions to Reserve (ATR). He has two decades of policy, research and advocacy experience working with First Nations in Ontario and British Columbia, and is a roster mediator with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. He has been a member of the ADR Institute of Ontario since 2009.
 
Tara J. Smock, Vice-President, Joan Holmes & Associates Inc., Ottawa, ON. Joan Holmes & Associates Inc. is an historical research consulting firm specializing in Aboriginal claims and litigation. Ms. Smock joined the firm in 1989, rising to become the firm’s Research Director in 1998 and Vice-President in 2011. In her 24 years of experience, Ms. Smock has trained staff in research methodology and best practices related to the effective use of key record holdings at Library and Archives Canada, Indian Affairs, Natural Resources Canada and other repositories. She is an expert in preparing specific claim submissions which comply with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s standards. Her particular areas of expertise include treaty land entitlement policy and practice; membership issues and genealogy; reserve establishment and surrenders; expropriations of reserve land for railways, roads and other purposes; treaty rights and benefits; and pre-Confederation treaties and surrenders.
 
 
Jody Woods, Research Director, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (“UBCIC”), Vancouver, BC. Ms. Woods has been Research Director at UBCIC since 2002. The UBCIC Research Department, which houses the UBCIC Resource Centre and the largest specific claims research program in Canada, currently researches and advances over 130 specific land claims for First Nations in BC. Ms. Woods sits on a number of national working groups and committees related to specific claims including the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Claims, the Specific Claims Tribunal Advisory Committee, the Claims Research Unit/Research Negotiation Funding Unit Working Group, the National Research Directors Group and the National Research Workshop Planning Committee. Ms. Woods has a Master’s Degree in History from the University of British Columbia and lives in Vancouver with her husband and two daughters.