April 30th, 2024 – Wills & Estates for Indigenous People Part 1: Advance Planning Off-Reserve and Non-Status

This webinar will address the importance and value of powers of attorney, representation agreements, and wills for indigenous persons living off-reserve/Nation Lands in British Columbia, as well as non-status individuals living on-reserve/Nation Lands. We will cover important considerations that go into preparing these documents, the risks and benefits, and resources for BC residents who want to ensure their wishes are respected both in life and after they pass.

Thank you for your interest and participation!

This session’s video is now available for viewing.

Thank you to everyone for your continued interest in our events.

We would like to reiterate that everyone is welcome to our UBCLC sessions.

Date: Tuesday, April 30th, 2024 (PST)
Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 am
Where: Free Online via Zoom

About the Presenters:


Elder Dennis Xwechtaal Joeseph
Xwechtaal served on Squamish Nations Chiefs and Council for 28 years and worked for his nation for 40 years. A traditionally trained speaker in the Coast Salish Longhouse, Xwechtaal has facilitated countless ceremonies for baby namings, puberty rites, weddings, and memorials.
For over 20 years, he took over a traditional role from his uncle. During times of loss of a loved one, Xwechtaal facilitated family meetings, MCd numerous funerals, and spiritually supported families and community during these difficult times.
As a co-founding member of the Squamish Nation Peacekeepers, he volunteered for 25 years, along the way building relationships with local RCMP and the West Vancouver Police. This led him to be the first Indigenous person in Canada to be appointed by the BC legislature to the West Vancouver Police Board.
For one year, Xwechtaal was Cultural Liaison for The Aboriginal Achievement Awards national broadcast held in Vancouver where he engaged an artist for set design and Coast Salish performers, and ensured Cultural Protocol was followed in the script and show. He was a Cultural Advisor leading up to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics.
Xwechtaal was a co-founding member of the rock and roll group Bitterly Divine, which played all major Olympic venues. The group also played the 2019 Festival of Lights and Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver. In 2023, they played at the Skookum Fest at Stanley Park.  Also, in 2023, Xwechtaal joined the band Whytefeather. In summer 2023, they played the inaugural Indigifest at Victoria’s inner harbour and have a documentary currently being filmed about them.
Xwechtaal also plays in the duo The Hitchhikers with a Haida Gwaii brother Jamie Thompson where music is based on their respective cultures. In all groups, Dennis plays harmonica and sings back-up vocals.
For the last year and a half, Xwechtaal has been Cultural Advisor/Elder to Full Circle Performance/Talking Stick Festival, which was founded by recent Order of Canada recipient Actor Margo Kane.
Xwechtaal considers all Elders to be his teachers including those he was raised by, including three great grandparents, grandparents, and parents, most of whom were born and raised in our Longhouses and taught as they were in the great oral tradition.


Catharine Schlenker

Catharine Schlenker is a Metis lawyer, who lives and works in Victoria, BC.  She attended law school at the University of Victoria while working for Access Pro Bono with a focus on advocating for marginalized individuals.
She was called to the BC bar in 2018 and the Alberta bar in 2023 and worked in private practice in civil litigation and municipal law for 5 years before returning to the non-profit sector in 2023 to work for Seniors First BC.
She is currently the Advance Planning Clinic Program Manager and a staff lawyer, providing pro bono advance planning documents to older adults across BC and is particularly focused on increasing access to estate planning legal services for members of First Nation communities.
Outside of work, Catharine spends most of her free time with her partner, son, parents, grandfather, and senior dog.  She loves baking, gardening, and volunteering in her community, currently as a member of the Saanich Board of Variance.



Chris Heslinga

Chris Heslinga is the Director of The Law Centre, a student legal clinic run through the University of Victoria. Previously, Chris was a Supervising Lawyers for the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) and a Supervising Lawyer and Academic Director for the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic (ICLC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Chris has volunteered with the Community Legal Assistance Society’s Mental Health Law Program and Access Pro Bono. Chris currently volunteers with Pro Bono Students’ Canada and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. Chris has been part of ACCLE for over 10 years.




If you have any questions or concerns for Chris and Catharine, we would highly recommend booking an appointment with the UVic Law Centre or Seniors First BC via phone to address your individual concerns.

  • UVic: The Law Centre – Website
    • Telephone: 250-385-1221
  • Seniors First BC – Advance Planning Clinics – Website
    • Telephone: 604-437-1940
    • Toll- Free: 1-866-437-1940
  • Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) – Website
    • Telephone: 604-822-5791
  • Access Pro Bono’s Lawyer Referral Service – Website
    • Telephone: 604-687-3221
    • Toll-Free: 1-800-663-1919

The topics we cover can often be sensitive or emotionally triggering. Please make sure that you are looking after yourself. If at any point you feel that you need to talk to a friend, Elder, counselor, or family member: don’t hesitate to do so. Check out our Counseling Support Page.

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