Rethinking the relationship between spirituality and reconciliation

A symposium on Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canada

University of Victoria
  • First Peoples House
  • Ceremonial Hall


Prof. Andrée Boisselle

Andrée Boisselle is an Assistant Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. She holds a joint civil and common law degree from McGill University, an LLM from the Université de Montréal, and a PhD in Law from the University of Victoria. Her dissertation, titled “Law’s Hidden Canvas: Teasing Out of the Threads of Coast Salish Legal Sensibility”, is the product of a decade of engagement with Stó:lō / Coast Salish communities.

Prof. John Borrows

John Borrows is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School. He is Anishinabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in Indigenous legal rights and comparative constitutional law. He has written and spoken extensively on Indigenous legal rights and traditions, storytelling, treaties and land claims, and constitutional and environmental law. His publications include Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law, Canada's Indigenous Constitution, and Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide.

Prof. Tolly Bradford

Tolly Bradford is an associate professor of history at Concordia University of Edmonton in the territory of treaty six. His research interests include Christian missions and Indigenous Peoples in the British Empire, the fur trade, treaties, and comparative history. He is author of Prophetic Identities: Indigenous Missionaries on British Colonial Frontiers, 1850–75 (2012), and co-editor with Chelsea Horton of Mixed Blessings: Indigenous Encounters with Christianity in Canada (2016). He is currently working on two projects: a transnational history of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and a study of Christianity and colonization in western Canada.

Prof. Gordon Christie

Professor Christie is of Inupiat/Inuvialuit ancestry and specializes in Aboriginal law. He has a PhD (in philosophy) from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a LLB from the University of Victoria. His teaching is primarily in the fields of Aboriginal law, torts and legal theory, and his research work is entirely concerned with Aboriginal/Indigenous law and legal theory (and their intersection). His most recent work focuses on how colonial systems of cultural meaning frame Canadian jurisprudence around Aboriginal rights.

Robert Clifford

Robert Clifford is WSÁNEĆ and a member of the Tsawout First Nation on Vancouver Island. He carries the name YELḰÁTŦE, passed to him by his late grandfather Earl Claxton Sr. He is a doctoral candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and lives and writes in his home community of Tsawout. His work engages the resurgence of WSÁNEĆ laws and seeks to relate the ways in which those laws reflect and generate out of the values, philosophies, lands, and worldviews of his people. His work is community focused and draws upon WSÁNEĆ law in relation to pressing problems throughout WSÁNEĆ territory.

Dr. Roshan Danesh

Roshan teaches, researches, and works in the areas of Indigenous rights, the relationship between law and religion, and international peace-building.

Prof. Hadley Friedland

Hadley Friedland, LLB, LLM, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law. She was the first Research Director of the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Law Research Unit and has worked extensively with Indigenous communities across Canada to revitalize their own laws. Hadley teaches and researches in the areas of Indigenous legal traditions, Aboriginal law, family law, child welfare and therapeutic jurisprudence. Her book, The Wetiko (Windigo) Legal Principles: Cree and Anishinabek Responses to Violence and Victimization, has recently been released.

Dr. Chelsea Horton

Born and raised on the west coast, historian Dr. Chelsea Horton had a deep interest in intersections of religion, colonialism, and reconciliation in this region. She is a research coordinator with the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society and an instructor in the Department of History at UVic. Chelsea is co-editor, with Tolly Bradford, of Mixed Blessings: Indigenous Encounters with Christianity in Canada (UBC Press, 2016). She has also presented and published on Indigenous Baha’i histories. Chelsea also works with and for First Nations on research and reporting on Indigenous land use and occupancy, rights, and title.

Prof. Sarah Hunt

Dr. Sarah Hunt is a Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw) scholar whose work critically takes up questions of justice, gender, sexuality, violence, self-determination and the spatiality of Indigenous law. Her research and teaching build on over 15 years of collaboration with Indigenous people and communities, with emphasis on issues facing youth, Two-Spirit people and women. Sarah is an assistant professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Department of Geography at UBC.

Prof. Sarah Morales

Sarah Morales, JD (UVic), LLM (University of Arizona), PhD (UVic), PostDoc (Illinois) is Coast Salish and a member of Cowichan Tribes. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law where she teaches torts, Aboriginal law, Indigenous legal traditions and international human rights, with a focus on Indigenous peoples. Sarah’s research centres on Indigenous legal traditions, specifically the traditions of the Coast Salish people, Aboriginal law and human rights. Specifically, she is committed to the recognition and reconciliation of Indigenous legal traditions with the common law and civil law traditions in Canada. In addition to these academic interests, Sarah has been actively involved with Indigenous nations and NGOs across Canada through her work in nation building, inherent rights recognition and international human rights law. Her community-based research has resulted in the creation of policies and procedures that are reflective of the laws and legal orders of the communities who utilize them.

Prof. Val Napoleon

Val Napoleon is the Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria. She is from north east British Columbia (Treaty 8) and a member of Salteaux First Nation. She is also an adopted member of the Gitanyow (Gitksan) House of Luuxhon, Ganada (Frog) Clan. She has taught and published on aboriginal legal issues, Indigenous law and legal theories, Indigenous feminisms, governance, critical restorative justice, oral traditions, and Indigenous legal research methodologies.

Prof. Pierrot Ross-Tremblay

Pierrot Ross-Tremblay is Innu, sociologist and professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury. His research focuses on memory and oblivion, psychological colonialism and legal traditions of First peoples in Canada. His book Thou Shalt Forget: Indigenous Sovereignty, Resistance and the Production of Cultural Oblivion in Canada will be published in 2018 at the School of Advanced Studies Press, University of London.

Prof. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria. She is the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood and the Associate Director of the Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-led Engagement (CIRCLE). Her research interests include Indigenous law and treaty practices, Aboriginal and Treaty rights and Indigenous politics in the United States and Canada. She is the co-editor of Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories with Jill Doerfler and Niigaanwewidam Sinclair and is the co-author of American Indian Politics and the American Political System (3rd and 4th edition) with Dr. David E. Wilkins. She has published articles in journals such as Theory and Event, American Indian Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and Michigan State University Law Review.

Douglas White

Douglas S. White, BA, JD, is a member, former Chief, and current Councillor and Chief Negotiator of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, BC. His Coast Salish name is Kwul’a’sul’tun and his Nuu-chah-nulth name is Tlii’shin. He has been a director of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada and an associate lawyer at Mandell Pinder. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation at Vancouver Island University and practices as a lawyer and negotiator across the country for First Nations governments.