Assistant Professor; Chancellor's Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy
- Aboriginal law
- Indigenous law
- Constitutional law
- Administrative law
- Equality and human rights law
- Diversity in legal education, the legal profession, and the judiciary
- BA (Dalhousie)
- LLB (Dalhousie)
- LLL (Ottawa)
- LLM (Osgoode)
- PhD (Alberta) In progress
- Nova Scotia, 2008
I hail from the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation located on the Gaspé Coast of Quebec, known as the Gespegewagi district of Mi’kma’ki. I speak English, French and am becoming fluent Mi’gmaq (I have been taking weekly lessons since May 2018). After nearly 10 years of a very rewarding practice in Aboriginal law, I decided to make the move to academia to continue my work for First Nations in a different way — through teaching, writing, and speaking about the issues facing Indigenous peoples in Canada and how the law can be a tool for reconciliation and improving the lives of Indigenous peoples.
- Constitutional Law (LAWS 2062)
- Indigenous Governance (with MacIntosh C.) (LAWS 2270)
- Aboriginal Peoples and the Law (LAWS 2180)
- Advanced Aboriginal Law (LAWS 2290)
- Indigenous Law as Practice: Applying Mi’kmaq Legal Traditions (LAWS 2289)
- Aboriginal and Indigenous Law in Context (LAWS 1009)
- Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Rights Moot (LAWS 2206)
Areas of supervision: Areas of supervision: Constitutional law, administrative law, Indigenous law and all areas of Aboriginal law and policy
Above all, I am interested in how the law can be harnessed to promote the well-being and self-determination of Indigenous peoples in Canada. I approach this issue from multiple angles, from constitutional to administrative law, international law to equality law and human rights codes, to Indigenous law defined broadly to include both the laws of Indigenous peoples based in inherent jurisdiction or deriving from jurisdiction delegated or recognized under Canadian laws. Although some advances have been made since the recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty rights in s. 35 of the Constitution Act in 1982, there is still much work to be done.
Indigenous peoples in Canada remain at the bottom of virtually every socio-economic statistic in this country and continue to face discrimination and systemic racism on a regular basis. As legal practitioners and scholars who are concerned about the situation of Indigenous peoples in this country, we have the responsibility to think about the problems facing Indigenous groups in Canada in innovative ways and to convey our ideas in ways that are accessible to the communities they are intended to serve.
- “Searching for ‘Superchief’ and Other Fictional Indians: Case Comment on R v Bernard, 2017 NBCA 48,” in Special Issue of Osgoode Hall Law Journal: A Right Without a Rights-Holder is Hollow (forthcoming 2020).
- “A Human Right to Self-Government over First Nation Child and Family Services and Beyond: Implications of the Caring Society Case,” (2019) Journal of Law and Social Policy, Volume 28:2, article 4.
- “Indian Act By-Laws: A Viable means for First Nations to (Re)Assert Control over Local Matters Now and Not Later” (2016) 67 UNBLJ 211
Book and book chapters
- “Realizing Administrative Aboriginal Law” in Colleen M. Flood & Lorne Sossin, eds, Administrative Law in Context, 3d ed., Chap. 3 (Emond Publishing: Toronto, 2017) (with Janna Promislow).
- “Becoming a Language Warrior” in Marie Battiste, ed, Living Treaties – Narrating Mi’kmaq Treaty Relations (Sydney: Cape Breton University Press, 2016)
- “Les droits linguistiques des peuples autochtones” - Chapter in M. Bastarache et al., Les droits linguistiques au Canada, 3e édition (Les Éditions Yvon Blais, 2013)
- The Law of Bilingual Interpretation - Butterworths (Canada) Limited, 2008, co-author with Justice Michel Bastarache, Regan Morris and Chris Essert
- “The Relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples – Where are We?” forthcoming in Law Society of Upper Canada Special Lectures 2017 – Canada at 150: The Charter and the Constitution (Irwin Law: 2018)
- “Ending Piecemeal Recognition of Indigenous Nationhood and Jurisdiction: Returning RCAP’s Aboriginal Nation Recognition and Government Act” Chapter 10, in Renewing Relationships: Indigenous Peoples and Canada (Saskatoon: Native Law Center, 2019), 243-280.
- “New Brunswick Needs a public inquiry Into Systemic Racism in the Justice System: Nova Scotia Shows Why,” invited essay in Journal of New Brunswick Studies Vol 12 (2020) 1-8.
- Expert Panel on Indigenous Communities, Toward Peace, Harmony, and Well-Being: Policing in Indigenous Communities (Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Council of Academies, April 2019)
- “Making the Most Out of Canada’s New Department of Indigenous Services Act,” Policy Brief for Yellowhead Institute, August 12, 2019, online.
- “The Promise and Pitfalls of C-92: An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families,” Special Feature for Yellowhead Institute, July 4, 2019, online (with Hadley Friedland and Sarah Morales).
- “Celebrating 30 Years of the Indigenous Blacks & Mi’kmaq Initiative: How the Creation of a Critical Mass of Black and Aboriginal Lawyers is Making a Difference in Nova Scotia” (June 27, 2019), Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s Directions Journal.
Service & activity
- Community Advisory Board for Off-Reserve Indigenous Reaching Home Program – member as of Fall 2019
- Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response (CLISAR) (Oct 2018 to present) – Member of Advisory Committee
- Indigenous Services Canada ‘First Nations Children’s Rights - Mandatory Training Curriculum and Policy Lens Advisory Group’ (Oct 2018 to present) – Member
- Yellowhead Institute for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University (Winter 2018 to present) – Member of Board of Advisors
- Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Center New Building Sub-Committee (Winter 2018-present) - Member
- Indigenous Bar Association (Fall 2017-present) – Board Member
- Schulich School of Law, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Committee (2016-present) – Co-chair
- Dalhousie University’s Indigenous Advisory Council (Fall 2016-present)
- Listuguj Aboqonmadultinech Community Foundation (2014-present) – Founding Director
- Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge (Fall 2019 to present) – Research Fellow