Seminar series to examine railway blockades, extractive projects and Indigenous rights

York University’s Department of Politics is inviting students, faculty, staff and members of the public to a talk about the application of the rule of law in the context of recent railway blockades in solidarity with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark will make a presentation, titled “The Rule of Law: Lessons of Legality from Wet’suwet’en to Tyendinaga,” as part of the department’s (Dis)locations of Democracy Seminar Series. The talk will begin at 2 p.m. on March 9 in the Verney Room (674 Ross Building South) at the Keele Campus. Light refreshments will be served at the event.

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark
Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

On Feb. 12, APTN reported Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that: “This is an important part of our democracy in Canada, but we’re also a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure those laws are respected” in response to questions about railway blockades in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

By invoking the rule of law to challenge Wet’suwet’en political authority, says Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, Trudeau made it clear that despite recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report, reconciliation would not entail a recognition of Indigenous law. Yet, the question remains whether Canada is held to the same standard to follow the rule of law, as extractive projects continue to skirt around Aboriginal title and rights jurisprudence and the duty to consult. This talk is centered on these longstanding conflicts, analyzing how, when and for whom law is invoked and applied.

Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) received her PhD in American studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2008. Her doctoral research focused on Anishinaabe treaty-making with the United States and Canada, and serves as the foundation for her in progress manuscript, “Unsettled: Anishinaabe Treaty-Relations and U.S./Canada State-Formation.” Her primary area of research and teaching is in the field of Indigenous comparative politics, native diplomacy and treaty and aboriginal rights. She is the co-editor of Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories and the co-author of the third edition of American Indian Politics and the American Political System.

More information on this talk can be found on the event posting. A list of events hosted by the Department of Politics can be found on the department’s website.