Indigenous-Settler Relationality through the Lens of Indigenous Human Rights Implementation

This webinar is the fourth in the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration’s 2021 Critical Public Conversations series: Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) emerged out of community-level meetings and Indigenous advocacy movements in the 1970s to eventually become the global standard on Indigenous-state relationships as well as Indigenous-settler relations. Passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, UNDRIP represents the minimum standard of Indigenous human rights, and its 46 articles provide guidance on Indigenous-settler relationality. However, the record of actual implementation of Indigenous human rights, in practice, has been mixed in the years since 2007. This presentation will explore the various pathways to implementation currently being undertaken at different levels of governance around the world with special attention paid to the legislative experiment underway in Canada, and especially in the province of British Columbia.


Associate Professor Sheryl Lightfoot is Anishinaabe, a citizen of the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe. She is Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics at the University of British Columbia, where she holds academic appointments in Political Science, Indigenous Studies, and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. She is also currently serving as senior adviser to the UBC president on Indigenous affairs and as the North American Representative to the United Nations Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Professor Sarah Maddison, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts and co-director of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, the University of Melbourne. She is particularly interested in work that helps reconceptualise political relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian settler state, including critical examinations of a range of relevant public policies. Her recent work has focused on the treaty process in Victoria, and she is currently working with the Australian Centre’s Deputy Director, Julia Hurst, exploring the role of truth-telling in treaty making. Sarah has also designed the Professional Certificate in Treaty, which includes the Preparing for Treaty series of Melbourne MicroCerts.

Sarah has published widely in international journals and is the author or editor of nine books including, most recently, The Colonial Fantasy: Why white Australia can’t solve black problems (2019). Her other books in the field include The Limits of Settler Colonial Reconciliation (2016), Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation (2015), Beyond White Guilt (2011), Unsettling the Settler State (2011), and Black Politics (2009). Sarah has led numerous research projects and was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow for 2011-14, undertaking a project that examined reconciliation in Australia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Guatemala. Her current ARC project is exploring intersections in Indigenous and settler governance regimes.

The presenters have granted permission for this recording to be used for personal viewing and educational purposes.