Relationality through the Lens of Indigenous Human Rights Implementation

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Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations CPC: Indigenous-Settler Relationality through the Lens of Indigenous Human Rights Implementation

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This webinar is the fourth in the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration's 2021 Critical Public Conversations series: Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) emerged out of community-level meetings and Indigenous advocacy movements in the 1970s to eventually become the global standard on Indigenous-state relationships as well as Indigenous-settler relations. Passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, UNDRIP represents the minimum standard of Indigenous human rights, and its 46 articles provide guidance on Indigenous-settler relationality. However, the record of actual implementation of Indigenous human rights, in practice, has been mixed in the years since 2007. This presentation will explore the various pathways to implementation currently being undertaken at different levels of governance around the world with special attention paid to the legislative experiment underway in Canada, and especially in the province of British Columbia.


Associate Professor Sheryl Lightfoot (PhD – University of Minnesota, Political Science) is Anishinaabe, a citizen of the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, enrolled at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Baraga, Michigan. In 2018, Sheryl was appointed to the role of Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Affairs, a position within the First Nations House of Learning. She is an associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the Department of Political Science.

Sheryl is Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, with specialties in Foreign Policy and International Affairs as well as Economic and Community Development. She also has fifteen years’ volunteer and contract experience with a number of American Indian tribes and community-based organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including nine years as Chair of the Board of the American Indian Policy Center, a research and advocacy group.

Her book, Global Indigenous Politics: A Subtle Revolution, was published in May 2016 by Routledge Press in their “Worlding Beyond the West” critical international relations book series.

Sheryl is currently involved in two major SSHRC-funded research projects. The first, “The Politics of Indigenous Apologies” examines state apologies to Indigenous peoples in multi-national comparative perspective. The second, “Complex Sovereignties: Theory and Practice of Indigenous Self-Determination in Settler States and the International System,” together with Professor David MacDonald of Guelph University, examines assertive, creative and innovative practices of Indigenous self-determination in multi-national, cross-border, and global contexts.

Sheryl is one of three principles on “Global Challenges to Democracy: Rights, Freedoms and Human Development” funded by a UBC Grant for Catalyzing Research Clusters. Within this cluster, Sheryl is examining the challenges associated with implementing Indigenous rights in advanced democracies. She is building a university-based research network to support research and advocacy related to Indigenous rights implementation.

Other research collaborations include “Transformative Memory: Strengthening an International Network” funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, and another UBC Research Cluster titled “Systematically Identifying, Evaluation and Responding to Environmental Injustices in Canada.”


This event will be lived captioned.

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Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

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Organiser Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration

Organiser of Relationality through the Lens of Indigenous Human Rights Implementation

The Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration is a research unit devoted to exploring the challenges that lie at the heart of relations between Indigenous and settler Australians. You can find out more about us via our website

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