Series: First Nations’ Rights – The Gap Between Law and Practice

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Savage Anxieties – The Invention of Western Civilization ; Indigenous Rights and the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group case May 9/13
Professor Robert Williams explores justifications for conquest, war, acts of racist violence and colonial dispossession from the time of the ancient Greeks to 21st Century treaty negotiations and introduces his book, Savage Anxieties – The Invention of Western Civilization. Prof. Williams is the author of several books, the recipient of many awards and is member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina.

Videos of all the talks are available in the Audio/Video section of this website. Podcasts and accompanying power points are available for some of the talks. To book a talk for more information contacts

Indigenous Law as a Solution to Resource Conflict February 28/13
Caleb Behn examines the conflict generated by fracking in Treaty 8 in northeastern BC and explains the potential of indigenous laws and legal traditions to ensure preservation of the environment as a condition of energy development and to effect reconciliation. Mr. Behn is Eh-Cho Dene and Dunne Za/Cree from the Treaty 8 Territory and holds a J.D.

Debunking the Doctrine of Discovery January 24/13
Robert Morales, lawyer and chief negotiator for the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group unveils the continuing effects of this archaic doctrine used to justify the seizure of lands and oppression of peoples. Robert is Coast Salish and a member of the Cowichan Tribes. Watch the video: learn from the power point.

First Nations’ own laws and legal systems May 17/12
Sarah Morales explains Coast Salish legal traditions—snuw’uyulh—and the displacement of those laws during and after the colonial period. She examines the concept of legal pluralism and the potential for such a system today in Canada. Sarah is Coast Salish, a member of Cowichan Tribes and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Watch the video.

Remember the children: What a landmark human rights case tells us about discrimination and justice in Canada April 24/12
Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, explains the legal action against the Canadian government to end the discriminatory practice of providing significantly less funding for social services to help First Nations children living on reserves. Dr. Blackstock is an associate professor at the University of Alberta and member of the Gitksan Nation of northern BC. Watch the video.

UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People-Indigenous rights in the UN system March 19/12
Kenneth Deer of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, is a journalist and educator, internationally recognized for promoting the recognition and protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Kenneth Deer explains the 25-year development of UNDRIP, why Indigenous Peoples went to the UN, the obstacles they faced, Canada’s involvement and whether the declaration is binding on states. Watch the video and learn from the power point.

Seeking Justice Elsewhere- The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group land claim case before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights February 23/12
Robert Morales addresses indigenous rights in the context of the 1884 unlawful seizure and privatization of Hul’qumi’num peoples’ land on Vancouver Island, the serious consequences for Hul’qumi’num survival and cultural integrity and the history of unsuccessful negotiations that led the Hul’qumi’num people to seek justice elsewhere. Watch the video.

Ghost Dancing with Colonialism January 12/12
Dr. Grace Woo, legal historian and author of Ghost Dancing with Colonialism: Decolonization and Indigenous Rights at the Supreme Court of Canada examines whether the Supreme Court of Canada is colonizing Indigenous peoples by examining Anglo-Canadian legal history, international law and Supreme Court of Canada decisions. Watch the video.

This series has been co-sponsored by: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Amnesty International Canada, the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, the Vancouver Public Library, the UBC Indigenous Law Students’ Association, and the UBC Indigenous Legal Studies Progam.