Melissa Louie, Ga’axsta’las, is a Citizen of the Tla’amin Nation (Coast Salish) and is also of Syilx ancestry with direct family ties to the Penticton Indian Band. Her strong sense of identify informs her approach to the legal profession. Melissa was called to the bar in 2008 and has dedicated her career to seeking transformative change for First Nations communities.
Over the course of her legal practice, Melissa has developed broad and practical experience in negotiations and providing legal and strategic advice on a wide-range of rights and title issues. She has had opportunities to support First Nation communities in the negotiation of self-determination, self-government, treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. Melissa is solutions-oriented and through her work with her own community and with others, she has also gained direct experience in the implementation work of Nation-building. She respects and holds space for cultural teachings, approaches and Indigenous legal orders. She has experience in supporting the development of Indigenous laws frameworks, as well as in drafting of other forms of laws, regulations, policies. In addition to this important work, Melissa has gained relevant experience working at the international level by supporting the North American Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council). In that capacity she worked to advance Indigenous rights through various United Nations mechanisms.