Law prof wins prized Killam Research Fellowship

Law Prof. Kent McNeil (left) is one of 10 Canadian scholars to receive a prestigious Killam Research Fellowship this year. He was competing against 82 other established scholars across Canada for the lucrative two-year research award worth $140,000.

McNeil plans to use the fellowship to research indigenous sovereignty and European colonization of western North America. He will visit archives in Chicago, Portland, St. Louis and Washington south of the border, as well as in Calgary, Ottawa, Victoria and Winnipeg.

His research “could have important implications for indigenous self-government today,” said Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Patrick Monahan in a public letter of congratulations Feb. 28. “I know that Professor McNeil has envisaged this research project for years but never had the time to pursue it. Now he will have the freedom to advance knowledge in an area that not only interests him but is also of interest to our country.”

McNeil has been a faculty member at Osgoode since 1987. He teaches courses on property law, trusts, and First Nations and the law. His primary research interest is with the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly in Canada, Australia and the US.

Among Canada’s most distinguished research awards, the Killam Research Fellowships, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are made possible by a bequest of Dorothy J. Killam and a gift she made before her death in 1965. The fellowships enable Canada’s best scientists and scholars to devote two years to full-time research and writing. Recipients are chosen by a committee of 15 eminent scientists and scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.

At least two other York law professors have won Killams in the past: Harry Arthurs in 1984 and Jean-Gabriel Castel (see Headline News) in 1985.