The Landfill Issue Webinar addresses the issue of Indigenous women's access to justice in the broader context of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and recent events in Winnipeg concerning the failure to act and the outrage associated with Indigenous women’s sexist dehumanization. Participating speakers will examine Indigenous women’s human rights and issues of advocacy before the United Nations, constraints concerning Indigenous women’s status as legal persons, the institutional objectives of reconciliation and gender justice, and the unbearability of the continuing loss of Indigenous women as sisters, mothers, daughters, mentors, advocates, and friends. The webinar will include a live question and answer period and an in-person vigil for participants to share stories about how Indigenous women inspire them.
Dr. Dawn Smith
Dawn or sii-yaa-ilth-supt is Nuu-chahnulth from Ehattesaht. She grew up in the territories of Ehattesaht and W̱SÁNEĆ with her late parents, Clyde and Norma Claxton along with grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, aunts and many more relatives. As an Assistant Professor in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, Dawn is a grateful visitor to Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Dawn has a Bachelor’s in Political Science with a Minor in Indigenous Studies (2003), a Master’s in Indigenous Governance (2007) from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of British Columbia (2018). Her research interests include a feminized and holistic approach to Indigenous governance in relation to ourselves, the environment and sustainability.
Ms. Kory Wilson
Kory Wilson, BSc. JD, is the Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships for British Columbia Institute of Technology. She created and led the launch of BCIT’s Indigenous Vision. In June 2022, BCIT Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships was awarded the Gold Award for Excellence in Global Indigenous Education. She is Co-chair of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Indigenous Affinity Group. Kory has over 20 years of experience in post-secondary education, community development, and law. She was instrumental in the creation of six open-sourced BC Campus Indigenization Guides. She serves on boards from Pearson College, BC Women’s Foundation, Downie Wenjack Fund, Future Skills Canada, and the BC First Nations Justice Council. A sought-after speaker and strategist on advancing and ‘truth-telling’ about the past and moving towards Reconciliation. With a deep commitment to education, she knows innovative and creative solutions are a must to move Reconciliation into ReconciliACTION. Education and access to knowledge are key in moving forward. When people know better, they do better.
Dr. Val Napoleon
Professor Val Napoleon [Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel, LLB, PhD] is the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Law, UVIC, and the Law Foundation Chair of Indigenous Justice and Governance. She is the co-founder of JID/JD (dual degree program in Indigenous legal orders and Canadian common law), and the founding director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit. She is Cree from Saulteau First Nation and an adopted member of the Gitanyow [northern Gitxsan]. Her areas of research include Indigenous legal traditions and methodologies (e.g. land, water, governance and democracy, human rights, gender, dispute resolution, and intellectual property), Indigenous legal theories, Indigenous feminisms, legal pluralism, Indigenous democracy, and Indigenous intellectual property. She teaches common property law and Gitxsan land and property law transsystemically in the JID/JD.
Dr. Wilton Littlechild
For more than 40 years, Dr. Littlechild has worked to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples through athletics, and law. An accomplished lawyer, he is the first Indigenous person appointed to Queen’s (now King’s) Counsel by the Alberta Law Society. He brought Indigenous issues to public attention while serving as the first Treaty Indian Member of Parliament. Dr. Littlechild has been active with a number of organizations both within Canada and internationally, including the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, the United Nations, the National Indian Athletic Association, and the Canadian Council of International Law. Dr. Littlechild served as a Commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, whose final report was released on December 15, 2015; Regional Chief to the Assembly of First Nations and Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. He served as the Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Justice System to report on overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples and racism in the legal system. In recognition for his service and dedication fighting for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples globally, the Treaty No. 6 Elders and Chiefs through a sacred traditional ceremony honoured Dr. Littlechild with the title of “International Chief”, a lifetime position supported by the Chiefs of Treaty No. 7 and Treaty No. 8 at a duly convened meeting. For his participation in Indigenous and athletic endeavours, Dr. Littlechild has been honoured with a number of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award as an Aboriginal Role Model, the Order of Canada, the Queen’s Jubilee Award; he has been inducted into nine Sports Halls of Fame, including the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a Master’s Degree in Physical Education, a Bachelor of Law Degree, and five Honourary Doctorates at Law. A renowned expert on the Inherent and Treaty Rights, International laws and declarations pertaining to Indigenous Peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Organization of America States Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Instrumental in securing not only the International Year of Indigenous Languages but also the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.