Merle practices Indigenous resource law, empowering Nations through title and rights affirmation, sustainable economic development, and environmental conservation.
Merle’s clients are looking for righteous advocacy, angular thinking, and relentless diplomacy. They want to be treated with the dignity of Indigenous Governments, not as warrior activists. His clients are Nations that uplift their jurisdiction and take their rightful seat at the economic and political table.
He holds the Hereditary Chief name, Lagax’niitsk, of Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation. He will begin his Chiefmanship upon following traditional protocols.
Merle is a ‘life of project’ lawyer assisting with negotiations of all stages of impact benefit agreements, joint ventures, regulatory engagement, traditional knowledge collection, and other corporate and tax-related advice. He supports clients in emerging government-to-government negotiations in all resource areas, including mining, oil and gas, forestry, pipelines, run-of-river, and hydro projects.
As a member of the co-development team for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in BC, a major component of Merle’s practice currently involves the ongoing legislative implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in BC and Canada.
Merle’s raison d’etre is seeing the world through his two son’s wondrous eyes, trying (and failing) to keep up with his warp-speed wife on running trails and “living life on life’s terms”.
Merle is often interviewed by media to speak about Indigenous legal issues. He prolifically and unabashedly communicates about this subject on Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Called to the Bar in BC and Ontario, 2001
- Called to the Bar in Yukon, 2002
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Specializing in Indigenous Economic Rights, University of Victoria, 1999
- Bachelor of Arts (BA), Political Science, University of Victoria, 1994
- Probono Indigenous negotiator/diplomat in two United Nations areas: Convention on Biological Diversity (environmental treaty) and World Intellectual Property Organization (protection of Indigenous knowledge and culture through IP law) for over a decade
- Chair, Board of Governors, University of Victoria
- Director, Lawyers Assistance Program
- Committee Member, Climate Engagement Canada Responsible Investment Association
- Former Director of: Ocean Networks Canada; Vancouver Native Health Society Foundation; West Coast Environmental Law; Coast Opportunity Fund; Vancouver Native Housing Society; Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society; and various First Nations economic development corporations
- Recognized by the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in the area of Indigenous Law, 2023
- Recognized by Business in Vancouver’s BC500 in 2021 & 2022, the 500 most influential business leaders in BC, as a Leader in Law – Indigenous Rights
- Recipient of Kings Counsel Designation
- Recognized as a leading practitioner in Aboriginal and mining law by Lexpert & Chambers Canada
- Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award of UVic for Law
- Co-editor of The Taxation and Financing of Aboriginal Businesses in Canada
⁺Merle C. Alexander Law Corporation