Treaties: Past, Present and Future

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Treaties: Past, Present and Future

Tuesday, September 29 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

This event will be broadcast online and is welcome to all – there is no login or registration required to tune in from the comfort of home. Click here to watch the livestream.

Senior Fellow Mary Eberts chairs this important conversation and welcomes our guests: Peter Russell will provide an overview of Treaties in Canada, outlining their historical use and constitutional status; followed by Ceyda Turan, counsel to the seven First Nations who successfully challenged the terms of the 1923 Williams Treaties describing the Nations’ long battle for justice before and after the signing of the Treaties, and; Chief Commissioner Celeste Haldane who will highlight features of the making of modern treaties in BC.

Celeste Haldane – Chief Commissioner, BC Treaty Commission
Peter Russell – Senior Fellow at Massey College, Professor Emeritus, U of T
Ceyda Turan – Barrister and Solicitor, Turan Law Office

Chaired by Mary Eberts – Senior Fellow at Massey College, Counsel in several cases challenging status provisions

Participants’ Bios:

Celeste Haldane was appointed in April 2017 Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission and reappointed in May 2020. Prior to this she served as an elected Commissioner for three two-year terms commencing in 2011. She is a practising lawyer and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2019. She holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University), and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and Bachelor of Arts from UBC. In 2015, she began her doctorate in Anthropology and Law at UBC.  The Provincial Government appointed Celeste to the Legal Services Society (Legal Aid) where she served as Chair. She recently completed 6 years on the UBC Board of Governors and continues to serve on the UBC Indigenous Engagement Committee as the past Chair. Celeste is a Director of the Brain Canada Foundation and the Musqueam Capital Corporation.  She is an active member of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Indigenous Bar Association. She is an alumni of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. Celeste is a member of the Sparrow family from Musqueam and is Tsimshian through Metlakatla. She is the proud mother of three and grandmother of two.

Peter Russell is a University Professor Emeritus at U of T and a Senior Fellow of Massey College. Since the 1970s he has been deeply involved as a friend and supporter of Indigenous peoples seeking a just relationship with Canada. He was a member of the federal government’s Task Force on Comprehensive Land Claims and chaired the Research Advisory Committee for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

Ceyda Turan was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, and arrived in Canada in 2002 to attend McGill University where she earned an undergraduate Degree in Political Science and International Development. She later earned a Master of Science degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, at the University of London. In 2012, she earned her common law and civil law degrees from McGill University and was called to the Ontario bar in 2013 after articling at the Environmental Review Tribunal. Starting her law-career as a sole practitioner, Ceyda joined the Montreal-based Aboriginal law firm Hutchins Legal in 2015 to work on the Alderville et. al v H.M.Q. litigation, a large complex litigation action before the Federal Court regarding a longstanding dispute over the 1923 Williams Treaties. Ceyda was involved in all aspects of the litigation and was later appointed by the First Nations as the lead counsel to the negotiations team that resulted in a historic settlement for the Williams Treaties First Nations. Ceyda has since opened her own firm, Turan Law Office committed to defending and advancing First Nations Aboriginal and treaty rights and assisting her clients advance their laws, governance and economic interests. She also volunteers with Pro Bono Ontario, assisting unaccompanied refugee minors manage the refugee claims process and appearing on their behalf before the Immigration Refugee Board. Ceyda, is the inaugural recipient of the Toronto Lawyers Association’s Emerging Excellence Award

Mary Eberts, O.C. is a Senior Fellow in Residence at Massey College and a practicing lawyer.  Her national practice is focused on equality rights, women’s rights, and Aboriginal rights.  She is a co-founder of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and was litigation counsel for the Native Women’s Association of Canada for over twenty years.   She has acted as counsel in many cases challenging the status provisions of the Indian Act, as well as on constitutional matters for Indigenous people, and was one of the lawyers acting for the seven First Nations challenging the Williams Treaties. Her current research interests include the relationship between Indigenous law and the Canadian legal system.


To view a copy of Commissioner Haldane’s presentation, please download the document:

Download PDF


Tuesday, September 29
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Massey College