Colette Storrow Award (Marvin Storrow)

Marvin Storrow is a lawyer known for working with B.C. First Nations on cases that have resulted in some of the most significant rulings in Canadian history, including the Supreme Court of Canada’s R. v. Guerin ruling, R. v. Sparrow and R. v. Gladstone.

Marvin was born in Vancouver in 1934. He became involved in various community and sports activities where he befriended a number of Indigenous athletes and discovered all the injustices they faced under the Indian Act.

He attended the University of British Columbia in the 1960s, during a time when Indigenous people who received a university degree — or became a doctor, clergyman or lawyer — lost their band status, and weren’t allowed to have their own representation in court.

In the mid-1970s, Marvin met then-Musqueam chief Delbert Guerin, who was having trouble finding a lawyer to take on a case regarding an unfair lease agreement deal around its reserve lands. Marvin took the case on, resulting in the landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Musqueam’s favour, R. v. Guerin. The ruling established the federal government’s fiduciary duty to Indigneous people, specifically in regards to their reserve lands.

Marvin has worked on many other notable cases, including R. v. Gladstone, the only case to recognize Indigenous commercial fishing rights. He also is behind R. v. Sparrow, the first case to address the constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples under Section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982.

Marvin received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria in 2021 and Doctor of Laws at Vancouver Island University in 2019. He established this award in honour of his wife, Colette Storrow.

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