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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 Pighin 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 also spent some of her articling time within Prince George’s crown counsel office. During law school, Sonya completed summer articles with the federal prosecutor in Prince George where she assisted with criminal prosecutions.
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 on the negotiation of 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 the Chair for the Canadian Bar Association’s Aboriginal Law Section – Vancouver Island, and is a member-at-large on the executive of the Constitutional / Civil Rights Section. In addition to this, Sonya volunteers with the BC Human Rights Tribunal as a member of their Working Group on Strengthening Tribunal Processes for Representative Complaints. This Working Group will develop recommendations to the BC Human Rights Tribunal on how to improve its process for complaints brought on behalf of persons without legal capacity, including complaints brought on behalf of children.
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.