Congratulations Heather McNeill N.W.L., KC, recipient of the Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession!

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is pleased to announce that Heather McNeill N.W.L., KC is the 2023 recipient of the Society’s Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession (AMIE).

This award recognizes outstanding Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lawyers within Nova Scotia who have contributed to their community, their Nation, the legal profession and to the Society. For more information about this award and the nomination criteria is available on our website.

Receiving this award is a very special moment for me and brings forward feelings of immense gratitude. It not only honors the many years I’ve dedicated to advocating for a more equitable legal system, particularly for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous people, but for all peoples who have experienced substantive inequity.

As in all good things that have come to me, I give my profound appreciation and thanks to family, Elders, Millbrook First Nation, community, friends, colleagues, and the many teachers, all of whom have supported, guided, and counselled me along my journey. There were many. And I thank those who nominated me for this prestigious award and the AMIE Selection Committee for determining I was worthy. “

Congratulations, Heather!

Read more about Heather McNeill, N.W.L., KC

Heather is the Legal Advisor to the Maw-Kleyu’kik Knijannaq (MKK) Initiative at the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn – Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative. She is a member of Millbrook First Nation, a mother, grandmother and wife. She is a practicing lawyer of 28 years and for over 21 of those years, she was a staff lawyer at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service practicing primarily in the areas of child protection, family and youth criminal law, representing many Mi’kmaq, Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients. Prior to her legal career, Heather worked for a decade as a registered nurse in Halifax working several of those years in Intensive Care. Heather retired from Dalhousie Legal Aid Service and took the position of Legal Advisor for the MKK Initiative in September 2018. She is very honoured to be doing this ground-breaking child and family well-being work on behalf of all Mi’kmaq children, youth, families and communities in Nova Scotia.

Heather has been a member of many boards, committees, organizations, groups and  task forces where she brings a Mi’kmaw lens and heart to the discussions and issues.  

Heather has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards throughout her nursing and legal career.