A local lawyer and Indigenous peoples advocate who helped launch First Nations court in Kamloops has been named a judge.
Linda Thomas will assume her new duties on July 5 as B.C.’s newest provincial court judge.
Thomas received a law degree from the University of British Columbia in 2000. She has worked as a sole practitioner and for First Nations government and non-profit organizations, most recently serving as executive director of Secwepemc Child and Family Services.
In addition to some criminal defence work, Thomas’ practice focused primarily on child-protection and family-law mediation. She also has a background in prison law.
Additionally, Thomas was instrumental in setting up Cknucwentn First Nations Court at the Kamloops Law Courts, a monthly day of criminal sentencings presided over by a judge and community elders.
She also founded the Kamloops Aboriginal Justice Council, an advisory committee for the First Nations court.
Thomas, a member of Tk’emlups to Secwepemc who is of Cree and Norwegian descent, has lived in Kamloops for more than 30 years.
In 2014, Thomas received the Aboriginal Lawyers’ Forum Special Contribution Award from the Canadian Bar Association and she was awarded the 2015 Y Peace Medal for her work in establishing the local First Nations court. In 2016, Thomas was selected to participate in a social innovation residency program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and last year she was awarded the Heart of Grasslands Award from the BC Association of Social Workers.
As a judge, she will be assigned to Fort. St. John.