Former Cape Mudge band councillor Jody Wilson-Raybould’s appointment as Canada’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice is being viewed with great pride by her people.
“It is with tremendous pride that the citizens of the We Wai Kai Nation, along with the Chief and Council of Elders, share in the accomplishments of our own Jody Wilson-Raybould,” a statement from the We Wai Kai Nation (Cape Mudge Band) says.
“Our community is certainly proud of Jody,” Coun. Brian Assu said. “We were gathered around a computer watching the live feed and were ecstatic when the announcement came.”
Wilson-Raybould, or Puglaas (her Native name which means “woman born to noble people”), served on the Council for the We Wai Kai Nation for two terms, recently resigning her council position in order to fulfill her commitment in her riding of Vancouver-Granville.
While serving on council, Wilson-Raybould was instrumental in helping her community develop a Land Code and to move out from under the Indian Act, the We Wai Kai statement says. She was also key in developing a financial administration law (establishing transparency and accountability through a regulatory framework for establishing budgets and controlling expenditures), assuming property taxation powers under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and becoming a Borrowing Member of the First Nations Finance Authority.
“While we are sad to see her leave our Nation in the capacity of a council member, we know that Jody’s on the right path and will continue her hard work as Attorney General and Minister of Justice,” the statement says.
Wilson was born in Vancouver to First Nations activist Bill Wilson and teacher Sandra Wilson. Her father once told the father of new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau – that his daughter wanted to be prime minister herself one day.
Wilson-Raybould, 42, received her law degree from UBC and served as a Crown prosecutor before taking a position in 2003 with the B.C. Treaty Commission and was elected as a commissioner by the chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations. She was elected a regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2009 and re-elected in 2013. Her appointment as Attorney General and Minister of Justice has inspired many First Nations people and has raised the expectation that the prime minister will act on a campaign promise to appoint an inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations women.