The collective nature of Indigenous legal orders and Aboriginal and Treaty rights call for a unique and culturally rooted research and teaching agenda that is dynamic, ethical, collaborative, interdisciplinary and community-based.
While my research is grounded primarily in law, it cuts across many disciplines. A priority in all of my work is respect for Indigenous methodologies and ethics, with an emphasis on ceremony, song and language. Specifically, my research and advocacy are rooted in living Indigenous knowledge, while creating space for Indigenous perspectives to be shared, considered and valued.
The essays in Pathways of Reconciliation address the themes of reframing, learning and healing, researching, and living. They engage with different approaches to reconciliation (within a variety of reconciliation frameworks, either explicit or implicit) and illustrate the complexities of the reconciliation process itself. They canvass multiple and varied pathways of reconciliation, from Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives, reflecting a diversity of approaches to the mandate given to all Canadians by the TRC with its Calls to Action.
My work frames individual, family, community and nation-based wellness through the lens of law, resurgence, sovereignty and self-determination in relation to health, lands and waters, relationships and kinship, governance, language and culture.
As described in a book I co-edited with Jill Blakely – “In Our Backyard” – The Legacy of Hydroelectric Development in Northern Manitoba: The Keeyask Experience:
What once was the pristine landscape of northern Manitoba has been dramatically altered in the last half century by hydro-electric development and other development, including mining and timber extraction. Beginning with building of the Grand Rapids Dam in the 1960s, a series of projects followed in Northern Manitoba. Each of them is a part of Manitoba Hydro’s integrated power system which has fractured the landscape, altered watersheds, changed habitat and affected people. Development pressures change landscapes and ecosystems and the significance of the impact should be considered from multiple and cross-cutting perspectives, with an eye to the past and the future, especially when contemplating any new development initiatives.
Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19 confronts the vulnerabilities that have been revealed by the pandemic and its consequences. In a chapter co-written with Deborah McGregor and Jeffrey Hewitt, we argue that water and housing are two areas of federal irresponsibility that significantly increase the COVID-19 risk for First Nations. We suggest that First Nations, as the most proximate government, are best positioned to make policy and law in response to COVID-19 and that they should be supported financially in that endeavour by the federal government—in the form of a sui generis application of the constitutional principle of subsidiarity (where authority rests with the government that is closest to the context and the people). Our comments are shared in light of the continued efforts of Indigenous people to maintain and restore good relations and to live in wellness—key pillars of Treaties and Indigenous legal orders in Canada.
For Centre for International Governance Innovation, 20 June 2019
University of Manitoba Press, 2020, approx. 300 pages (in press)·
B. Gunn and K. Drake (eds), Renewing Relationships: Indigenous Peoples and Canada
(University of Saskatchewan Native Law Centre, 2019) Chapter 3, pp. 59-82
Canada at 150: The Charter and the Constitution
(Irwin Law, 2017) pp. 379-393
Paper delivered at the Canadian Administration of Justice Conference: How Do We Know What We Think We Know: Facts in the Legal System
11 October 2013, 25 pp.
Delivered at the University of Winnipeg’s Canada Research Chair Speaker Series
Winnipeg MB, 6 February 2020
Delivered at the Symposium international « Souverainetés et autodéterminations des peuples autochtones : bilan, enjeux et perspectives »
Wendake QC, 24-25 October 2019
Delivered at the Canadian Bar Association Aboriginal Law Conference
Banff AB, 20-21 June 2019
Delivered as part of Processes and perspectives on water and impact assessment in remote and urban settings, Ontario Association of Impact Assessment National Conference
Toronto ON, 17-18 October 2018