Learn more about the speakers and presenters at the ALF Retreat 2024.


Miller Titerle + Company

Leah is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) and was elected Chief for 4 terms. She was the first woman to serve in this role. She was a leader on the negotiations team, has interpreted TWN legal orders for regulatory submissions and holds oral history of the TWN.

Leah has served as elected co-Chair for the First Nation Summit since 2004, an elected member of the Land Advisory Board since 2008, held seats on the First Nation Health Council, as well as the Four Host First Nations.

Leah is a lawyer, practicing in the Indigenous Law Group at Miller Titerle + Co. Currently, she is working on her LLM. She lives on TWN lands with her husband and grown daughter.


Commissioner of Indigenous Languages

Stsmél̓qen, Ronald E. Ignace, is a member of the Secwepemc Nation in Interior British Columbia. He was the elected chief of the Skeetchestn Indian Band for more than 30 years since the early 1980s. He also served as Chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and president of its cultural society, where he initiated a broad program of research and reclamation on Secwepemc language and culture, including an innovative university partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU).

He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of British Columbia and completed his PhD in Anthropology at SFU in 2008, with a dissertation on Secwepemc oral history. He has (co-)written numerous articles and book chapters on Secwepemc history, ethnobotany, language and culture, including the epic Secwepemc People, Land and Laws: Yerí7 re stsq̓ey̓s-kucw, a journey through 10,000 years of Secwepemc history.

From 2003-2005, he chaired the Ministerial Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures, and from 2016-2021, co-chaired the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs Committee on Languages, where he played an instrumental role in the development of Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act.

Raised by his great-grandparents Sulyen and Edward Eneas, and despite being taken to Kamloops Indian Residential School for several years in his childhood, Ron is a fluent speaker of Secwepemctsin and has more than sixty years of practical experience in Secwepemc traditional skills on the land. With his wife Marianne Ignace, he was awarded the Governor General‘s Award for Innovation in 2019, for their decades of collaborative research involving Indigenous people and communities.


Chief Justice of British Columbia

The Honourable Leonard S. Marchand is the Chief Justice of British Columbia, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, and Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Yukon. He was appointed Chief Justice in 2023, having previously been appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia in 2013, to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2017, and to the Courts of Appeal for British Columbia and of Yukon in 2021.

Prior to becoming a judge, Chief Justice Marchand articled and practised at Fulton & Company LLP in Kamloops from 1994 to 2013. His practice focused on the liability of public authorities and he appeared before all levels of court in British Columbia and before many administrative tribunals.

Chief Justice Marchand dedicated a substantial portion of his career as a lawyer to pursuing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, including by advancing civil claims on behalf of residential school survivors. In 2005, he helped negotiate and was a signatory to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement which, at the time, was the largest class action settlement in Canadian history. He then served on the Oversight Committee for the Independent Assessment Process and the Selection Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Chief Justice Marchand is Syilx and a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. He grew up in both Kamloops and Ottawa. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of British Columbia in 1986, he worked in the oil industry for several years. He then attended law school at the University of Victoria, graduating in 1994. He was called to the British Columbia bar in 1995 and to the bars of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories in 2006.

Chief Justice Marchand divides his time between Kamloops and Vancouver with his wife, Laurie. Together their family also includes three grown children, their children’s partners, and two much-loved grandchildren.


Motivational Speaker and Facilitator

Madelaine is a gifted dancer, motivational speaker, facilitator, and MC — a true, multi-faceted creative. She is from Ile a la Crosse, Saskatchewan and brings passion with a gentle yet powerful presence to the stage whether she is there to share one of her inspiring Speaks or she has been asked to dance, or MC.

Madelaine knows the everlasting pain that is incurred through experiencing abandonment and neglect, homelessness, the foster care system, abusive relationships and most recently a cancer diagnosis that shifted her world.

When Madelaine looks back at her life story it is filled with so much pain and sadness that she feels an ache that she cannot explain. This impacts her for days, weeks and sometimes months. Madelaine was given teachings that produced a shift in perspective about her past. She now shares these teachings that have shifted her perspective on her experience so that she can now look back on her story and feel empowered and see the underlying purpose of these experiences.


Lawyer and Host of the Trauma-Informed Lawyer Podcast

Myrna McCallum is a true change-maker, award-winning podcaster, and leading champion of trauma-informed lawyering. She is the host of “The Trauma-Informed Lawyer" Podcast and acts as a subject matter expert on trauma-informed policy, procedure, and process. Myrna also offers training courses on trauma-informed engagement for leaders, policy makers, police officers, lawyers and judges. She is also a highly sought after public speaker.


Department of Justice

Michelle Casavant is mixed heritage, French and Irish, and a member of the Métis Nation. Her family took scrip on the shores of the Red River. Her Métis family names are Vandal, Boyer and Boucher.  She grew up on Treaty 6 territory, and spent her holidays and weekends in Chitek Lake, a métis community on the border of Pelican Lake First Nation - Chitek Lake Indian Reserve. She has been an occupier on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh people since 1997. Michelle has a background and formal training in fine arts, education and law. 

As a member of the urban Indigenous community in Vancouver for 25 years she has been actively involved in breaking down barriers for Indigenous peoples and students and building bridges with non-Indigenous peoples and communities. Michelle's work in Aboriginal law began about 20 years ago. She has worked for the federal government for 15 years in numerous roles involving Indigenous peoples and communities: she was part of the legal team at the Department of Justice that conducted the Independent Assessment Process hearings for residential school survivors, she has been a Negotiator with Crown-Indigenous Relations, and managed a consultation team for major projects with Indigenous Services Canada. She is currently legal counsel at the Department of Justice providing advisory services in the Indigenous Rights and Relations Section, an Instructor at Capilano University Legal Studies department, and sits on a number of boards and committees.