Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge Team


Portrait of Koren Lightning-Earle, LLB, LLM
Koren Lightning-Earle, LLB, LLM, CIC.C

Legal Director and Lawyer
Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Koren Lightning-Earle, ’00 BA(Rec/Leisure), ’04 BA, ’07 LLB, ’18 LLM, CIC.C, Blue Thunderbird Woman, is Cree from Samson Cree Nation. She is the Legal Director with Wahkotowin Law and Governance Lodge. She is Board Member for First Nations Caring Society. She is Acting Commissioner for Alberta Utilities Commission. She is Board Member for Peace Hills Insurance. She was the Indigenous Initiatives Liaison at the Law Society of Alberta. She was Vice-President of Kasohkowew Child Wellness Society for 10 years. She was President of the Indigenous Bar Association for 6 years.

Koren graduated from Law School in 2007 at the University of Alberta. She was called to the bar in February 2009 and had the honour of having her Bar Call on her Reserve of Samson Cree Nation. She was called by Chief Justice Wachowich and Federal Court Justice Mandamin. Koren received her Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, her concentration was Alternative Dispute Resolution. Koren’s work focuses on working with Indigenous clients and supporting the revitalization of Indigenous Laws. Koren advises in the areas of Indigenous Governance, Indigenous Child Welfare, and Indian Act matters. Koren also is an accomplished speaker on Indigenous Cultural Awareness and Relationship Building.

She was awarded the “Pringle/Royal sessional teaching excellence” Award from Faculty of Law, University of Alberta. She was awarded “Tomorrow’s Leader” Award from Women in Law Leadership Awards in 2019. She was awarded the Alumni Horizon Award from the University of Alberta in 2017. Koren is alumni of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, she participated in the 2017 NWT Tour. She was an elected council member for Samson Cree Nation from 2011-2014 and is co-founder of Hub, a community mobilization program to help reduce crime. She was co-chair of the First Nations Women’s Economic Security Council. She is a sessional instructor at Maskwacis Cultural College and University of Alberta, Faculty of Law.

Portrait of Hadley Friedland
Hadley Friedland, LLB, LLM, PhD

Academic Director / Associate Professor
Co-Founder, Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge
Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Dr. Friedland co-founded the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge in 2018. She is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law. She holds a Child and Youth Care diploma (with distinction) from MacEwan University, an LLB from the University of Victoria, and an LLM and PhD from the University of Alberta. She teaches and researches in the areas of Indigenous laws, Aboriginal law, Family law, Child Welfare law, Criminal Justice, Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Community-led research. Prior to her position at UAlberta Law, she helped establish and was first Research Director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit [ ILRU] at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. She has had the honour of working extensively with Indigenous communities across Canada to identify and articulate their own laws.

Dr. Friedland has published numerous articles but is most passionate about collaboratively producing accessible Indigenous legal resources for Indigenous communities, legal professionals and the general public. She is author of the book, The Wetiko Legal Principles: Cree and Anishinabek Responses to Violence and Victimization, University of Toronto Press, 2018. For more information and select publications, visit her Professor Page.

Aileen Reilly (on leave)

Project Manager
Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Portrait of Janalynn Baldhead
Janalynn Baldhead

Project Coordinator
Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Jana is Cree First Nation from One Arrow Reserve in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and raised in Edmonton, AB. A mother of two beautiful children, Jana enjoys taking her kids out for walks with their Border Collie, spending time with family and learning about her cultural background and traditions so she can teach them to her children. She enjoys singing and laughing and learning new things every day.

Portrait of Hero Laird
Hero Laird

Articling Student 2022/2023
Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Hero likes to learn, imagine and pursue good ways of relating. They are a proud Articling Student with the Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge. Hero works with many groups on law and social systems reform. They currently serve on the leadership teams of Volunteer Alberta, the Digital Law & Innovation Society and the Indigenous Law Students' Association at UAlberta. Previously, they co-founded Connect the Sector, acted as a start-up staff member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, and co-founded the River Valley Free School, a skills sharing community in Amiskwacîwâskahikan / Edmonton, on Treaty 6 territory, where they live. Hero has just completed a law degree at UAlberta. You can find Hero hanging out with trees, meditating, making art and cuddling with family. Pronouns: any (this means you can’t go wrong :)

Research Assistants 2022/2023

Portrait of Casey Caines
Casey Caines

Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Casey is a Cree and Dene iskwew from Fort Nelson First Nation, but currently raises her two young daughters alongside her husband in Edmonton, AB. She is a second year Juris Doctor candidate at the U of A, a research assistant for Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge, and legal researcher for her nation.

Her passion is in the pursuit of reducing systemic inequalities and barriers to access from grassroots to global. This has led her to many community circles including as the current Vice-President External of the Indigenous Law Student Association at the U of A, Vice-President First Nations of the National Indigenous Law Student Association, co-chair of the Impact advisory at Colleges and Institutes of Canada, as a board member for the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, and as co-founder of The Medicine Box Project and Waniska Leaders which bring both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants together in traditional knowledge revitalization. This work has gifted her with the opportunity to speak in engagements from the Youth G7 Summit to the United Nations Environmental Programme. It is truly an honour to have found a home and a family in all of her work.

Portrait of Gavin Cazon-Wilkes
Gavin Cazon-Wilkes

Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Gavin is a treaty band member of the Liidlii Kue First Nation of Fort Simpson, from the Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories. His home is situated on Treaty 11 territory.

Gavin prioritizes family, the value of learning, and the reclamation of a voice through educational environments. Gavin attempts to find ways he can still be authentic to himself and remain an Indigenous advocate in these spaces. Has it been hard along the way? Always. But so rewarding.

In the legal academic setting, he is working towards fair representation in this type of system as a student to make small - but meaningful - change towards healing, expansion of opportunity, and reconciliation. He has had a seat on Indigenous committees, worked within varying Indigenous communities, and was previously a first-year representative on the Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA), ILSA Representative on the Law Students’ Association, and now the President of ILSA.

Michael McInnis

Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Wahkohotwin Scholar-in-Residence

Portrait of Honourable Leonard S. (Tony) Mandamin IPC
Honourable Leonard S. (Tony) Mandamin IPC

Faculty of Law
Law Centre

Born in 1944, an Anishinaabe member of the Wiikwemikoong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Educated at University of Waterloo (B.A.Sc. Electrical Engineering 1971); University of Alberta (LL.B. 1982); Native Studies, University of Alberta (M.A. 2021)

Called to the Alberta Bar in 1983. Established the Law Firm of Mandamin and Associates in 1985 representing First Nations, Indigenous organizations and individuals. Appeared as counsel before the Alberta Queen’s Bench and Provincial Courts and before the Supreme Court of Canada (R. v. Badger), Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (R. v. Wolfe) and the Indian Claims Commission (Cold Lake First Nations Primrose Claim).

Faculty Co-ordinator for Aboriginal Justice Seminars at the Banff School of Management 1991-94 and Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta School of Native Studies 1988-92. Commissioner and Chairperson of the Edmonton Police Commission 1991-1995 and President of the Canadian Native Friendship Centre in Edmonton, Alberta (1990).

Provincial Court Judge in the Provincial Court of Alberta (1999 - 2007). Presided in the Tsuu T’ina Court which involved First Nation peacemaking and in the Siksika Court which also involved traditional Indigenous resolution. Judge of the Federal Court 2007. Chaired the Federal Court Aboriginal Law Liaison Committee. Retired from Federal Court August 19, 2019.

Awards: 1996 Aboriginal Justice Award by Aboriginal Law Students Association, University of Alberta; 1999 Four Eagle Feathers (traditional Indigenous award) presented by Family, First Nations, and Indigenous individuals; 2007 awarded traditional naming ceremonies by both Tsuut’ina and Siksika, 2018 Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa by Law Society of Ontario; 2019 Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel by Indigenous Bar Association.

Currently Counsel with Witten LLP, Edmonton. Scholar-in-Residence at Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge at the University of Alberta.

Research Fellows

Sarah Morales
Associate Professor, UVic Law
Lindsay Borrows
Assistant Professor, Queen’s University Faculty of Law
Darcy Lindberg
Assistant Professor, UVic
Joshua Nichols
Assistant Professor, McGill
Tamara Pearl
Assistant Professor, University of Alberta Faculty of Law
Emily Snyder
Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies, UBC Okanagan
Naiomi Metallic
Assistant Professor, Dalhousie Law
Damien Lee
Assistant Professor, Ryerson University
Mandee McDonald
PhD Candidate, UAlberta Native Studies

The Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge was co-founded by Dr. Hadley Friedland and Dr. Shalene Jobin, Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, Canadian Research Chair in Indigenous Governance and Director, Indigenous Governance and Partnership Program. To learn more about Dr. Jobin's current work, visit her Professor Page and her Indigenous Governance and Partnership Program