Indigenous advocate called to NWT bar in Yellowknife court ceremony

Lawyer Jennifer Hunt-Poitras beams after she was called to the NWT bar (John McFadden/CKLB photo) bar

A well-known Yellowknife resident and advocate for Indigenous people is the newest lawyer in the Northwest Territories.

Jennifer Hunt-Poitras was called to the bar during a ceremony at the Yellowknife courthouse Friday.

She was sworn-in while Supreme Court Judge Andrew Mahar presided over the ceremony.

The public gallery in the courtroom – the largest in the NWT – was filled to capacity with family, including Hunt-Poitras’ parents, friends, colleagues and other well-wishers.

Hunt-Poitras, a married mother of six, grew up in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, in the eastern Arctic.

Becoming a lawyer is the latest in Hunt-Poitras’ impressive public career.

She was a reporter at CBC North for some 15 years.

Hunt-Poitras also worked on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for two years.

She has also done work for the Native Women’s Association of the NWT.

Hunt-Poitras is a former colleague of current CKLB journalists Judi Kochon and Mary Rose Blackduck.

She says that those endevours prepared her well for the challenges that lie ahead as a lawyer.

“My time on the Truth and Reconcilation Commission was both a blessing and a curse. I saw things that I will never be able to un-see,” she said. “But I also heard incredible stories of resilience.”

Hunt-Poitras has accepted a position with the firm Lawson Lundell in Yellowknife.

She becomes one of the few lawyer in the NWT fluent in Inuktitut, a language she learned growing up in Pond Inlet.

Former NWT Commissioner George Tuccaro and Sheila Bassi-Kellett, Yellowknife’s senior administrative officer, were among those on hand for the ceremony.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.