Sheryl Lightfoot

Associate Professor, SPPGA/Poli Sci/FNIS
phone 604 827 0712
location_on Liu Institute 216B

About

Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics
Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Political Science and Indigenous Studies

As one of the world’s experts in global Indigenous politics, Sheryl’s research specializes in complex questions of Indigenous peoples’ rights and how those rights are being claimed and negotiated in various political spaces. Her work explores both practical and theoretical aspects of implementation of Indigenous rights globally as well as in comparative domestic and regional contexts.

Sheryl also currently serves as Senior Advisor to the UBC President on Indigenous Affairs. Sheryl is Anishinaabe from the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, enrolled at the Keweenaw Bay Community in northern Michigan.


Research Area

International Indigenous Rights and Governance Network

Implementing, assessing, and monitoring Indigenous peoples’ human rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a global, and in the case of post-TRC and post-MMIWG Inquiry Canada, a national imperative. Although this is now recognized as an international priority, governments and civil societies everywhere are struggling with the vexing question of how to do so. This international and intersectional research network responds to a pressing need for research and tools to assist, monitor, and share information to support implementation. Initiated by Indigenous researchers and organizations and predominantly comprised of Indigenous scholars, organizations and initiatives, this network will deliver research outcomes that are immediately relevant to Indigenous peoples. When shared through this network, research findings will have broad and immediate transnational governmental and societal impact. This network will also serve to rapidly share knowledge in formats that are accessible to experts, policy makers, the general public, and, especially, Indigenous peoples.

Complex Sovereignties: Theory and Practice of Indigenous Self-Determination in Settler States and the International System

Together with Professor David MacDonald of Guelph University, this SSHRC funded project examines assertive, creative and innovative practices of Indigenous self-determination in multi-national, cross-border, and global contexts. This research aims to inform both the theoretical development of self-determination and policy decisions, building on literature documenting the history of Indigenous diplomacy and trade. We explore distinct, but overlapping and complementary, forms of self-determining practice, including passports, independent trade or diplomatic missions, involvement in elements of state external sovereignty, treaty relations, territorial and economic self-determination, pooled sovereignty, global organizing beyond the state, and the rebuilding and assertion of nationhood.

The Politics of Indigenous Apologies

This SSHRC-funded project engages in a qualitative comparative case study analysis of state apologies to Indigenous peoples in five countries: Canada (2008), Australia (2008), the United States (2009), Norway (1997) and New Zealand (numerous and ongoing), including historic analysis to trace the way these apologies evolved over time as well as the after effects. The case studies explore the evolution of state decisions to offer apologies, the domestic political context and mode of delivery, as well as accompanying compensation and/or constitutional and policy changes, in comparative perspective.

Sheryl is also a co-applicant on Transformative Memory: Strengthening an International Partnership SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2018-2021).


Publications

“Indigenous-Canadian Relations at the Sesquicentennial: An Opportunity for Real and Lasting Transformation,” in Policy Transformation in Canada: Is the Past Prologue? Edited by Carolyn Hughes Tuohy, Sophie Borwein, Peter Loewen and Andrew Potter (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019) 124-131.

“Implementing the UN Declaration: The View from Canada” in Conversations about Indigenous Rights: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand. Edited by Selwyn Katene and Rawiri Taonui (Massey University Press, New Zealand, 2018) 75-92.

“A Promise Too Far?: The Justin Trudeau Government and Indigenous Rights” in Canada Among Nations, eds. Norman Hillmer and Phillipe Lagasse (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) 165-186.

Global Indigenous Politics: A Subtle Revolution. Routledge (UK), 2016.

“Indigenous Mobilisation and Activism in the UN System,” in Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, edited by Damien Short and Corinne Lennox, 2016.

“Settler State Apologies to Indigenous Peoples: A Normative Framework and Comparative Assessment.” Native American and Indigenous Studies 2 (2015): 15-39.

“Marge Anderson: Restoring the Treaty Rights of the Mille Lacs Band,” in “Our Cause Will Ultimately Triumph” Profiles in American Indian Sovereignty, ed. Tim Alan Garrison (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2014), 143-156.

“Selective Endorsement Without Intent to implement: Indigenous Rights and the Anglosphere.” The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2012, pp. 100-122.

“Emerging International Indigenous Rights Norms and ‘Over-Compliance’ in New Zealand and Canada.” Political Science, Vol. 62, No. 1, June 2010, pp. 84-104.

Book Review: “Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes and the Constitution” by Frank Pommersheim; Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law and Politics Book Review, 2010.

Book Review: “Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood” by Jeff Corntassel and Richard C. Witmer II; Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Social Science Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, March 2009, pp. 220-222.

Co-authored with David E. Wilkins. “Oaths of Office in Tribal Constitutions: Swearing Allegiance, but to Whom?” American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, Fall 2008, pp. 389-411.

“Indigenous Rights in International Politics: The Case of “Over-Compliant” Liberal States.” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 83-104.


Graduate Supervision

PhD

Alison James, Political Science

Gudrun Ros Arndottir, Political Science

Denali YoungWolfe, Political Science

Matthew Norris, Political Science

Katherine Walker (co-supervised with Barbara Arneil), Political Science

Rebecca Klady, (co-supervised with Stephen Sheppard), Forestry

 

MA

Stacey Freeman, Political Science (2014)

Dominic Lai, Political Science (2016)

Matthew Norris, Political Science (2018)

 

Committees

Matthew Wildcat, PhD, Political Science

Ketty Anyeko, PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies

Fumiya Nagai, PhD, Anthropology

Jose Arias, PhD, Forestry

Rachel George, PhD, Indigenous Governance, UVic

Karen Slakov, MA, Political Science (2017)

Zoe Ducklow, Master’s of Journalism (2017)

Dorothy Christian, PhD, Education Studies (2017)

Emi Sasagawa, Master’s of Journalism (2015)

Elise Sammons, MA, Political Science (2014)

Jason Tockman, PhD, Political Science (2014)

Shayna Plaut, PhD, Education Studies (2014)

Jose Arias, MA, Forestry (2013)


Sheryl Lightfoot

Associate Professor, SPPGA/Poli Sci/FNIS
phone 604 827 0712
location_on Liu Institute 216B

Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics
Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Political Science and Indigenous Studies

As one of the world’s experts in global Indigenous politics, Sheryl’s research specializes in complex questions of Indigenous peoples’ rights and how those rights are being claimed and negotiated in various political spaces. Her work explores both practical and theoretical aspects of implementation of Indigenous rights globally as well as in comparative domestic and regional contexts.

Sheryl also currently serves as Senior Advisor to the UBC President on Indigenous Affairs. Sheryl is Anishinaabe from the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, enrolled at the Keweenaw Bay Community in northern Michigan.

International Indigenous Rights and Governance Network

Implementing, assessing, and monitoring Indigenous peoples’ human rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a global, and in the case of post-TRC and post-MMIWG Inquiry Canada, a national imperative. Although this is now recognized as an international priority, governments and civil societies everywhere are struggling with the vexing question of how to do so. This international and intersectional research network responds to a pressing need for research and tools to assist, monitor, and share information to support implementation. Initiated by Indigenous researchers and organizations and predominantly comprised of Indigenous scholars, organizations and initiatives, this network will deliver research outcomes that are immediately relevant to Indigenous peoples. When shared through this network, research findings will have broad and immediate transnational governmental and societal impact. This network will also serve to rapidly share knowledge in formats that are accessible to experts, policy makers, the general public, and, especially, Indigenous peoples.

Complex Sovereignties: Theory and Practice of Indigenous Self-Determination in Settler States and the International System

Together with Professor David MacDonald of Guelph University, this SSHRC funded project examines assertive, creative and innovative practices of Indigenous self-determination in multi-national, cross-border, and global contexts. This research aims to inform both the theoretical development of self-determination and policy decisions, building on literature documenting the history of Indigenous diplomacy and trade. We explore distinct, but overlapping and complementary, forms of self-determining practice, including passports, independent trade or diplomatic missions, involvement in elements of state external sovereignty, treaty relations, territorial and economic self-determination, pooled sovereignty, global organizing beyond the state, and the rebuilding and assertion of nationhood.

The Politics of Indigenous Apologies

This SSHRC-funded project engages in a qualitative comparative case study analysis of state apologies to Indigenous peoples in five countries: Canada (2008), Australia (2008), the United States (2009), Norway (1997) and New Zealand (numerous and ongoing), including historic analysis to trace the way these apologies evolved over time as well as the after effects. The case studies explore the evolution of state decisions to offer apologies, the domestic political context and mode of delivery, as well as accompanying compensation and/or constitutional and policy changes, in comparative perspective.

Sheryl is also a co-applicant on Transformative Memory: Strengthening an International Partnership SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2018-2021).

“Indigenous-Canadian Relations at the Sesquicentennial: An Opportunity for Real and Lasting Transformation,” in Policy Transformation in Canada: Is the Past Prologue? Edited by Carolyn Hughes Tuohy, Sophie Borwein, Peter Loewen and Andrew Potter (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019) 124-131.

“Implementing the UN Declaration: The View from Canada” in Conversations about Indigenous Rights: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand. Edited by Selwyn Katene and Rawiri Taonui (Massey University Press, New Zealand, 2018) 75-92.

“A Promise Too Far?: The Justin Trudeau Government and Indigenous Rights” in Canada Among Nations, eds. Norman Hillmer and Phillipe Lagasse (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) 165-186.

Global Indigenous Politics: A Subtle Revolution. Routledge (UK), 2016.

“Indigenous Mobilisation and Activism in the UN System,” in Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, edited by Damien Short and Corinne Lennox, 2016.

“Settler State Apologies to Indigenous Peoples: A Normative Framework and Comparative Assessment.” Native American and Indigenous Studies 2 (2015): 15-39.

“Marge Anderson: Restoring the Treaty Rights of the Mille Lacs Band,” in “Our Cause Will Ultimately Triumph” Profiles in American Indian Sovereignty, ed. Tim Alan Garrison (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2014), 143-156.

“Selective Endorsement Without Intent to implement: Indigenous Rights and the Anglosphere.” The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2012, pp. 100-122.

“Emerging International Indigenous Rights Norms and ‘Over-Compliance’ in New Zealand and Canada.” Political Science, Vol. 62, No. 1, June 2010, pp. 84-104.

Book Review: “Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes and the Constitution” by Frank Pommersheim; Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law and Politics Book Review, 2010.

Book Review: “Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood” by Jeff Corntassel and Richard C. Witmer II; Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Social Science Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, March 2009, pp. 220-222.

Co-authored with David E. Wilkins. “Oaths of Office in Tribal Constitutions: Swearing Allegiance, but to Whom?” American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, Fall 2008, pp. 389-411.

“Indigenous Rights in International Politics: The Case of “Over-Compliant” Liberal States.” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 83-104.

PhD

Alison James, Political Science

Gudrun Ros Arndottir, Political Science

Denali YoungWolfe, Political Science

Matthew Norris, Political Science

Katherine Walker (co-supervised with Barbara Arneil), Political Science

Rebecca Klady, (co-supervised with Stephen Sheppard), Forestry

 

MA

Stacey Freeman, Political Science (2014)

Dominic Lai, Political Science (2016)

Matthew Norris, Political Science (2018)

 

Committees

Matthew Wildcat, PhD, Political Science

Ketty Anyeko, PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies

Fumiya Nagai, PhD, Anthropology

Jose Arias, PhD, Forestry

Rachel George, PhD, Indigenous Governance, UVic

Karen Slakov, MA, Political Science (2017)

Zoe Ducklow, Master’s of Journalism (2017)

Dorothy Christian, PhD, Education Studies (2017)

Emi Sasagawa, Master’s of Journalism (2015)

Elise Sammons, MA, Political Science (2014)

Jason Tockman, PhD, Political Science (2014)

Shayna Plaut, PhD, Education Studies (2014)

Jose Arias, MA, Forestry (2013)

Sheryl Lightfoot

Associate Professor, SPPGA/Poli Sci/FNIS
phone 604 827 0712
location_on Liu Institute 216B

Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics
Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Political Science and Indigenous Studies

As one of the world’s experts in global Indigenous politics, Sheryl’s research specializes in complex questions of Indigenous peoples’ rights and how those rights are being claimed and negotiated in various political spaces. Her work explores both practical and theoretical aspects of implementation of Indigenous rights globally as well as in comparative domestic and regional contexts.

Sheryl also currently serves as Senior Advisor to the UBC President on Indigenous Affairs. Sheryl is Anishinaabe from the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, enrolled at the Keweenaw Bay Community in northern Michigan.

International Indigenous Rights and Governance Network

Implementing, assessing, and monitoring Indigenous peoples’ human rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a global, and in the case of post-TRC and post-MMIWG Inquiry Canada, a national imperative. Although this is now recognized as an international priority, governments and civil societies everywhere are struggling with the vexing question of how to do so. This international and intersectional research network responds to a pressing need for research and tools to assist, monitor, and share information to support implementation. Initiated by Indigenous researchers and organizations and predominantly comprised of Indigenous scholars, organizations and initiatives, this network will deliver research outcomes that are immediately relevant to Indigenous peoples. When shared through this network, research findings will have broad and immediate transnational governmental and societal impact. This network will also serve to rapidly share knowledge in formats that are accessible to experts, policy makers, the general public, and, especially, Indigenous peoples.

Complex Sovereignties: Theory and Practice of Indigenous Self-Determination in Settler States and the International System

Together with Professor David MacDonald of Guelph University, this SSHRC funded project examines assertive, creative and innovative practices of Indigenous self-determination in multi-national, cross-border, and global contexts. This research aims to inform both the theoretical development of self-determination and policy decisions, building on literature documenting the history of Indigenous diplomacy and trade. We explore distinct, but overlapping and complementary, forms of self-determining practice, including passports, independent trade or diplomatic missions, involvement in elements of state external sovereignty, treaty relations, territorial and economic self-determination, pooled sovereignty, global organizing beyond the state, and the rebuilding and assertion of nationhood.

The Politics of Indigenous Apologies

This SSHRC-funded project engages in a qualitative comparative case study analysis of state apologies to Indigenous peoples in five countries: Canada (2008), Australia (2008), the United States (2009), Norway (1997) and New Zealand (numerous and ongoing), including historic analysis to trace the way these apologies evolved over time as well as the after effects. The case studies explore the evolution of state decisions to offer apologies, the domestic political context and mode of delivery, as well as accompanying compensation and/or constitutional and policy changes, in comparative perspective.

Sheryl is also a co-applicant on Transformative Memory: Strengthening an International Partnership SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2018-2021).

“Indigenous-Canadian Relations at the Sesquicentennial: An Opportunity for Real and Lasting Transformation,” in Policy Transformation in Canada: Is the Past Prologue? Edited by Carolyn Hughes Tuohy, Sophie Borwein, Peter Loewen and Andrew Potter (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019) 124-131.

“Implementing the UN Declaration: The View from Canada” in Conversations about Indigenous Rights: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand. Edited by Selwyn Katene and Rawiri Taonui (Massey University Press, New Zealand, 2018) 75-92.

“A Promise Too Far?: The Justin Trudeau Government and Indigenous Rights” in Canada Among Nations, eds. Norman Hillmer and Phillipe Lagasse (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) 165-186.

Global Indigenous Politics: A Subtle Revolution. Routledge (UK), 2016.

“Indigenous Mobilisation and Activism in the UN System,” in Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, edited by Damien Short and Corinne Lennox, 2016.

“Settler State Apologies to Indigenous Peoples: A Normative Framework and Comparative Assessment.” Native American and Indigenous Studies 2 (2015): 15-39.

“Marge Anderson: Restoring the Treaty Rights of the Mille Lacs Band,” in “Our Cause Will Ultimately Triumph” Profiles in American Indian Sovereignty, ed. Tim Alan Garrison (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2014), 143-156.

“Selective Endorsement Without Intent to implement: Indigenous Rights and the Anglosphere.” The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2012, pp. 100-122.

“Emerging International Indigenous Rights Norms and ‘Over-Compliance’ in New Zealand and Canada.” Political Science, Vol. 62, No. 1, June 2010, pp. 84-104.

Book Review: “Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes and the Constitution” by Frank Pommersheim; Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law and Politics Book Review, 2010.

Book Review: “Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood” by Jeff Corntassel and Richard C. Witmer II; Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Social Science Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, March 2009, pp. 220-222.

Co-authored with David E. Wilkins. “Oaths of Office in Tribal Constitutions: Swearing Allegiance, but to Whom?” American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, Fall 2008, pp. 389-411.

“Indigenous Rights in International Politics: The Case of “Over-Compliant” Liberal States.” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 83-104.

PhD

Alison James, Political Science

Gudrun Ros Arndottir, Political Science

Denali YoungWolfe, Political Science

Matthew Norris, Political Science

Katherine Walker (co-supervised with Barbara Arneil), Political Science

Rebecca Klady, (co-supervised with Stephen Sheppard), Forestry

 

MA

Stacey Freeman, Political Science (2014)

Dominic Lai, Political Science (2016)

Matthew Norris, Political Science (2018)

 

Committees

Matthew Wildcat, PhD, Political Science

Ketty Anyeko, PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies

Fumiya Nagai, PhD, Anthropology

Jose Arias, PhD, Forestry

Rachel George, PhD, Indigenous Governance, UVic

Karen Slakov, MA, Political Science (2017)

Zoe Ducklow, Master’s of Journalism (2017)

Dorothy Christian, PhD, Education Studies (2017)

Emi Sasagawa, Master’s of Journalism (2015)

Elise Sammons, MA, Political Science (2014)

Jason Tockman, PhD, Political Science (2014)

Shayna Plaut, PhD, Education Studies (2014)

Jose Arias, MA, Forestry (2013)