Christina Gray, an associate at JFK Law practicing in Aboriginal law, is the first Indigenous lawyer to be featured as a Profile with ATLAS, which stands for Acting Together: Law, Advice, Support. ATLAS is a global community of female-identifying lawyers, activists, and jurists with expertise in various facets of public international law. ATLAS features profiles of women with a legal background working in public international law and domestic human rights. Christina has worked both in International Indigenous Law and domestic human rights in Ontario, prior to joining JFK Law.
Christina was interviewed by Danya Chaikel, a Canadian lawyer specializing in international criminal law and consultant at Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. In the fall of 2020, they sat down virtually to discuss why Christina was drawn towards working in domestic human rights and Aboriginal law, as well as some of the adversities and successes that she has experienced along the way. Danya and Christina discussed other important issues as well, such as coping within the legal profession and advice for those wishing to enter the practice of law.
In the interview, when asked about some of the highpoints of her career so far, Christina explained:
My new job at JFK Law is a high point because I feel very privileged to work in Aboriginal law. I’ve dreamt for a long time of working in this area of law, so I’m proud to finally make this dream a reality. The subject matter is something that I’ve cultivated an interest in since I was very young. I have always tried to learn more about Indigenous people’s constitutional rights, including treaties made between Indigenous nations and governments, Indigenous title, and rights—like hunting and fishing, for example. This is essentially Aboriginal law, but it differs from Indigenous legal traditions whose law and governance comes from Indigenous nations and peoples themselves. For example, as a Ts’msyen person, I live and research my Ts’msyen legal tradition.
When asked where she finds the courage to speak out publicly, Christina said: “I think it’s crucial to see representation of Indigenous women – everywhere! … I feel I have a social responsibility to do so, and I’m honoured that I can really”.
To learn more or to discuss the interview with Christina, please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org