Wampum Diplomacy in the Early and Middle Encounter Period

Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii) is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. He began his university studies at Simon Fraser, and was the managing editor of the inaugural edition of the Indigenous Law Journal in 2002, while a student in the JD program at U of T. He went on to complete his LL.M at Columbia University. While at Columbia, Douglas was both a Canada-US Fulbright Scholar and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Back at the U of T, he received the Students Law Society Partnership Award in 2009-2010. Douglas is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and he has been deeply engaged in Aboriginal issues from a policy perspective. From 2004-2007 he was a Senior Advisor to the Government of Ontario, first in the Office of the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, and later, to the Attorney General. Douglas’s research areas include Aboriginal and legal theory, as well as private law (primarily property law) and public and private legal theory. His work uses the lens of material culture and property theory to examine the nature of historic injustice to Indigenous peoples and possible avenues for redress. Moving beyond the framework of common law property rights and constitutional land/treaty rights, his scholarship focuses on Aboriginal institutions, post-colonial reconciliation and rebuilding community.


Dr. Douglas Sanderson
Member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Associate Professor Faculty of Law, University of Toronto


October 24, 2019 - 1:30 pm



Burlington Art Gallery   View map

Our sense of history frequently fails to align with the facts of history, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the shared history of Indigenous-Settler relations. In this talk I will draw out the formal structure of treaty relations, known as the covenant chain, and conducted entirely according to Indigenous International law protocols.  This relationship of mutual respect and relative equality was neither short term nor a campaign of deceit. This relationship of mutual respect lasted almost to the date of confederation in 1867. In other words, the facts of history demonstrate an Indigenous-Settler relationship of mutual respect that lasted for more than three hundred years, and stands in sharp contrast to the racist and oppressive relationship post-Confederation. I draw lessons from the historical relationship in order to provide teachings about the current relationship.


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