She works towards decolonization and legal pluralism, and is keen to support Indigenous peoples to exercise their inherent, constitutional, and human rights.
Born and raised in Ontario and currently living and working as a visitor on the traditional territory of the Ts’uubaa-asatx, Ditidaht, and Quw’utsun peoples in British Columbia, Cheyenne Arnold-Cunningham is a lawyer and member of the Métis Nation of B.C (with Métis roots in St. Albert and Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta and the historic Red River Métis community in Manitoba and mixed European ancestry). She works at the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria where she assists with project research, workshop and focus group design and facilitation, and the application of methods for revitalizing Indigenous laws. With the ILRU team, Cheyenne works in partnership with Indigenous communities across Canada on a variety of projects connected to citizenship, human rights, children and families, lands, resources, and water. As junior in-house counsel at the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and guided by the UBCIC’s mandate and direction from First Nations leadership in British Columbia, Cheyenne largely works to support the acknowledgment, protection, and exercise of First Nations’ title and rights, and she assists with legislative reform work to align provincial and federal law with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Cheyenne is also the founder and owner of her own law corporation, and will take on additional legal, policy, and academic-based work.
In 2022, Cheyenne attended several in-community workshops and presented on Indigenous law research and methods to youth, students, legal professionals, and the broader public. Additionally, Cheyenne, alongside co-counsel, represented the UBCIC at the Public Order Emergency Commission Inquiry where the UBCIC raised questions during cross examinations of federal ministers and other witnesses relating to Indigenous rights, UNDRIP implementation, and the use of state and police powers in the context of an emergency. Stepping into the educational realm, Cheyenne also taught an introductory Indigenous studies course at Algoma University, and worked with the First Nations Leadership Council on the development and implementation of the BC First Nations Climate Strategy and Action Plan, which went on to receive the Special Recognition Award as part of the Community Energy Association’s 2022 Climate & Action Energy Awards. In everything she does, Cheyenne works towards decolonization and legal pluralism, and is keen to support Indigenous peoples to exercise their inherent, constitutional, and human rights.