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Sonya Pighin (“Sonya”) grew up in Prince George and moved to Vancouver Island in 2003. She is a member of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, and belongs to the Gitdumden (Bear/Wolf) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en. Her late-mother’s side of the family is from the village of Witset (formerly known as Moricetown) and her maternal grandparents are the late Charlie Pete and Mary Pete (nee Joseph). On Sonya’s father’s side of the family she has Italian and French roots, and her paternal grandparents are Frank and Aline Pighin (nee Houle).
Prior to starting Sonya Pighin Law, Sonya practiced aboriginal law as an Associate Lawyer at Cedar Law Corporation. Before that, she articled with the BC Ministry of Justice’s Legal Services Branch where she worked within various law groups, including: civil litigation, constitutional and administrative law, resource, environment and land law, and legislative council. She spent some of her articling time within Prince George’s crown counsel office and completed summer articles with a federal prosecutor in Prince George.
Sonya also has a background in dispute resolution and has worked in the realms of mediation, negotiation, and advocacy. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked for the New Zealand Office of Treaty Settlements negotiating an historical Treaty of Waitangi claim. She acted as an advocate for children’s rights at the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth in BC, and she provided mental health outreach to aboriginal children, youth and families. In addition, Sonya organized and facilitated family group conferences for child and youth offenders in New Zealand, and she worked as a youth care worker with high-risk and special needs youth in a group home environment.
Sonya acts as Chair and Legislative Liaison for the Canadian Bar Association’s Aboriginal Law Section – Vancouver Island, and is a member-at-large on the Constitutional / Civil Rights Section. In addition to this, Sonya recently volunteered with the BC Human Rights Tribunal as a member of their Working Group on Strengthening Tribunal Processes for Representative Complaints.
In Sonya’s spare time she is an outdoors enthusiast and loves adventure. Her favorite activities include: backcountry hiking, snowboarding, scuba diving, bike touring, mountain biking, kayaking, camping and beach time. She also enjoys music of all genres, fire dancing and travel. Most recently, Sonya has competed in (and is training for another round of) the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race.