Shawn Smith

Staff Lawyer

Shawn (they/them) is a Staff Lawyer at WCEL supporting both the Access to Justice and Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water (RELAW) teams. They are a white settler of mixed Western European ancestry, who was born and raised in the territory of the Aamjiwnaang people on a small farm near Sarnia, Ontario. Originally shaped by the experience of growing up next-door to Sarnia’s Chemical Valley, Shawn is particularly focused on the effects of extractive industries on the health and rights of Indigenous and settler communities, the land, waters, and beings beyond human.

They have a BA from the University of Guelph (2013) and graduated in 2022 with the inaugural cohort of the Joint Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders program at the University of Victoria (JD/JID). Much of their learning took place in the territories of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation while living there and supporting their RELAW project before and throughout law school. They are immensely grateful to the Tlingit lands, waters and people who taught them and continue to do so.

They often spend their time thinking about the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, healing, land relationships and community care. Shawn is now based on Coast Salish lands where they can be found walking amongst the trees with their dog pal, exploring laughter through improv or cooking for their community.