Day: June 24, 2015

Soon-to-be lawyer wins right to wear regalia when she is called to the bar

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Photo: Christina Gray with permission

Christina Gray will set a strong precedent when she is called to the bar this week.

In a sea of black barristers’ robes at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Gray, a proud member of the┬áLax Kw’alaams Tsimshian, will be wearing her woollen black and red Tsimshian button blanket and her cedar hat. On her back there will be a hand-sewn killer whale, representing her clan.

The regalia represents her Tsimshian culture, laws, ways of being and history, said Gray.

Gray will be the first in Ontario to wear First Nations regalia instead of the traditional barristers’ robes when called to the bar on Tuesday.

In May, an initial request from Gray to the Law Society of Upper Canada to wear her traditional regalia for the ceremony was rejected on the grounds that the clothing worn at the call should be appropriate for court, and that regalia would cover the traditional barristers’ robes. Gray was invited to speak to the issue if she had further questions.

A month later, while watching the closing ceremony in Ottawa for the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the residential school experience, she drafted a formal letter to the society, said Gray. Read More…


Along with statements of support from her community, Gray sent the letter on June 5 and after a few meetings, the society honoured her request.