Sadly, we confirm that our dear friend and partner Ray Oakes passed away on Friday, January 24th. Our office and Ray’s family have appreciated the many expressions of compassion and support during his courageous battle with cancer. We have been advised that Ray did not want a funeral or memorial service, and his family intends on honouring his wishes and have asked for privacy during this difficult time. It goes without saying that Ray was a respected lawyer, partner, and close friend. His presence around the office will be sadly missed.
The law firm of BD Oakes Jardine Kaneski UnRuh LLP acknowledges that we live and work in the territories of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Métis, and Oji-Cree Nations. The firm sits in Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral and traditional homeland of Anishinaabe peoples. Treaty 1, signed in 1871, took this territory from seven local Anishinaabe First Nations to make the land available for settler use and ownership.
This land acknowledgment is about being honest and accurate about the Original Peoples of this land as well as other Indigenous communities who lived and continue to live where the firm presently stands. It is an expression of respect and appreciation for these ancestors, and their present-day relatives, who continue to love and care for the land. This acknowledgment is offered in the belief that doing so will help us to be mindful lawyers, advocates, and citizens of the community we share with indigenous peoples.
We are committed to learning more about the issues shaping the lives of indigenous peoples, and to cultivate and put into practice skills that will contribute to a decolonized, anti-discriminatory future devoid of prejudice and racism. In expressing and enacting our land acknowledgment, we commit to honouring and supporting movements of self-determination and wellbeing led by indigenous guardians, stewards, and protectors of this land that we share. This responsibility includes engaging with, questioning, and critiquing those practices and structures, within and outside our firm, that perpetuate the status quo as it concerns indigenous lands, waters, and people in Manitoba. Our land acknowledgment is not fixed but living. It is fluid and open to change as we continue to learn.