The latest edition of the University of Ottawa’s Research Perspectives magazine, subtitled Indigenuity, explores issues affecting Canada’s First Nations Peoples. Articles feature the research of numerous Faculty of Law professors, including Larry Chartrand, Darren O’Toole, Angela Cameron and Sarah Morales of the Common Law Section, and Sébastien Grammond and Ghislain Otis of the Civil Law Section.
The work of Professors Chartrand, Grammond and O’Toole is featured in an article entitled “Forgotten claims,” which explores the three professors’ project on Métis treaty rights, and the significant gaps of knowledge on Canada’s Métis population. The project is funded by a five-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and it seeks to not only clarify Métis treaty agreements from the past, but to involve current Métis communities in creating meaningful relationships for the future. “A lot of the project is forward-looking,” says Prof. Chartrand, “towards what could be the models for reconciliation between Métis claims and the government.”
Professor Otis is featured in an article entitled “A close look at Indigenous legal tradition,” which delves into his efforts to have Indigenous legal systems recognized around the world, noting their fundamental importance to Indigenous communities. Prof. Otis believes that recognition of this kind is crucial to restoring dignity to Indigenous peoples, and to expanding our understanding of “humanity’s great heritage.” He received a $2 million partnership grant from SSHRC in 2013 to lead an international research project on the coexistence of state and Indigenous legal systems. “Western societies must view Indigenous cultures as legitimate,” he contends. “Colonization obscured not only the religions and languages of Aboriginal peoples but also — and even more so — their legal cultures.”
Finally, Professor Angela Cameron is featured in an article entitled “The deeper roots of violence,” which examines her research into the link between violence and women’s inequitable access to social and economic opportunities in the context of the government’s inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Her research aims to document whether or not projects proposed as remedies to Indigenous women’s vulnerability actually improve their socio-economic status, and how the rate of improvement compares to the situation of men. “Most of the work that’s been done up to this point on privatization and economic development hasn’t asked questions about gender or the connection between social and economic development and violence against Indigenous women,” she explains. Prof. Cameron also works with her Common Law colleagues Sarah Morales and Darren O’Toole to examine different forms of Indigenous governance to see if there is any connection between those systems and reducing rates of violence against Indigenous women.
Click here to view the entire issue of Research Perspectives, which is also available in print from the Office of the Vice-President, Research (innovation@uOttawa.ca).