Catherine Bell is a graduate of the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan (class of 85) and Professor Emerita of Law at the University of Alberta where she taught from 1989 -2021. Her research focuses on Indigenous constitutional rights, cultural heritage law and Indigenous research ethics. She also developed the Faculty’s Low Income Clinical Law Program and the Indigenous Justice Externship Program on Gladue Sentencing Principles. She has been a visitor at national and international universities and helped develop and deliver Indigenous legal education courses across Canada, including with the Program of Legal Studies for Native People (University of Saskatchewan), Akitsiraq Law School (University of Victoria), Nunavut Law Program (University of Saskatchewan), the Joint Indigenous Law Degree Program (University of Victoria) and the Banff Center for Management Aboriginal Leadership and Self-Government Program. She recently served as a member of the Alberta Court’s Gladue Workshop Committee, the Canadian Museums Association Indigenous Reconciliation Council and is on the Board of the Indigenous Heritage Circle – a national Indigenous led organization dedicated to furthering understanding and respect for Indigenous heritage stewardship, laws, and values in Canada.
Professor Bell is published widely in Indigenous rights and has worked in collaboration with Métis, First Nation, Inuit, federal, provincial, and international governments bodies and organizations. Recent projects include with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council of BC on legislation impacting First Nations heritage; the Canadian Museums Association on application of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to museum policy and practice; and developing collaborative projects globally as a member of the Steering Committee for the Intellectual Property in Cultural Heritage Project. Her current research focuses on UNDRIP and heritage law reform in Canada.
In 2012, Professor Bell was awarded the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Governor General’s Gold Medal recognizing her outstanding contributions to law and legal education in Canada.