Extractive Industries, Governance and Indigenous Rights:
Spaces of Struggle and Social innovation

International Conference-workshop
University of Ottawa
November 29-30, 2018

Location: FSS 4007

Registration: Free to attend but please RSVP using the link in the sidebar 

Please feel free to contact us at with any questions


Fully engaged in national and international debates on the natural resource extraction industry, the Interdisciplinary Research Group on the Territories of Extractivism (GRITE) includes 12 researchers and more than 20 graduate students from various units in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences (International Development and Global Studies, Political Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology) and Faculty of Law (Civil Law and Common Law). The primary objective of GRITE is to stimulate the exchange of critical knowledge between various sectors on the many issues that the growth of the extractive industry raises, both in Canada and abroad.

The GRITE 29-30 November 2018 international conference-workshop has two key objectives: 1) an in-depth analysis of the nature of the socio-environmental conflicts and governance challenges that the extractive industry raises, and of the strategies and practices that impacted communities have developed to face them;  and 2) the formulation of policy recommendations to address these challenges and conflicts. It brings together world-renowned academic experts on indigenous rights in extractive contexts, governmental and civil society representatives, and Indigenous leaders.

The event consists of 3 panels, 3 round tables, and 1 policy meeting. In the panels, academic experts will focus on identifying the factors at the source of socio-environmental conflicts in extractive contexts. Then they will examine what, politically and legally at the international, national or local level, ensures the protection of the rights of the Indigenous peoples affected by extractive development - including the right to free, prior and informed consent. Panelists will finally focus on identifying the innovations that different actors are developing to protect these rights (such as strategic litigation, or new forms of public participation in decision-making processes).

The roundtables will take the form of discussion groups led by a GRITE member; they will seek to mobilize the knowledge of the academic experts in the panels that precede them to produce recommendations for policy action in collaboration with members of governmental, civil society, and Indigenous sectors. This cross-sectoral dialogue will culminate in the policy meeting where participants will share their thoughts on the recommendations made in the roundtables, and then reflect on policy and legal reforms required to ensure that the extractive industry is more respectful of the rights, aspirations, and practices of the Indigenous peoples affected by their activities.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

9:00-9:20. Opening Ceremony by an Anishnaabe Elder

9:20-9:30. Welcome from the organizers Willow Scobie and Karine Vanthuyne

9:30-10:00. Opening Conference: Ghislain Picard, Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador

10:00-10:15Health break

10:15-11:30. Panel I: Extractivism and Socio-Environmental Conflicts

Chair: Marie-Josée Massicotte, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Dana E. Powell, Anthropology, Appalachian State University, United States
  • Thierry Rodon, Université Laval, Canada
  • Warren Bernauer, University of Manitoba, Canada 

11:30-11:45 Health break

11:45-1:00 pm. Roundtable I: Preventing Conflicts in Extractive Contexts

Chair: Marie-Dominik Langlois, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Monique Manatch, Algonquians of Barriere Lake
  • Carole Brazeau, First People’s Justice Centre of Montreal
  • Jamie Kneen, Mining Watch Canada

1:00 pm-2:30 pm Lunch

2:30-3:45 pmPanel II: Deregulation and Protection of Indigenous Rights in Extractive Contexts

Chair: Christopher Huggins, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Kate Gunn, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Ali Saleem, University of Delaware, United States
  • Jon Matthias Ahren, Faculty of Law, Arctic University of Norway, Norway

3:45-4:00 pm. Health break

4:00-5:15 pm. Round Table II: Defending Indigenous Rights in Extractive Contexts

Chair: Salvador Herencia, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Maurice J. Kistabish, Conseil de la Première Nation Abitibiwinni
  • Sergio Campusano, Comunidad Agrícola de Los Diaguitas Huasco Altinos, Chile
  • Tara Scurr, Amnesty International, Canada

18:30: Reception at the Wabano Centre (by invitation only)


Friday, November 2018

9:00–9:30: Opening Conference: Linda L. Shecapio, Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association

9:30-10:45: Panel III: Social Innovations in Protecting Indigenous Rights in Extractive Contexts

Chair: Karine Vanthuyne, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Viviane Weitzner, McGill University, Canada
  • Charles Menzies, Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Martin Papillon, Political Science, University of Montreal, Canada

10:45-11:00 Health break

11:00 - 12:15 Panel III: Innovating to Protect Indigenous Rights in Extractive Contexts

Chair: Zoé Boirin-Fargues, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Olivier Courtemanche, Institut de développement durable des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador
  • Gisele Eva Côté, Impact
  • Rafael Maldonado, human rights lawyer, Guatemala

12:15 -13:15 Lunch

13:15 -13:45 Opening Conference: Romeo Saganash

13:45 – 16:45 Policy Meeting

16:45-17:00 Closing Ceremony by an Anishnaabe Elder

Speakers Profiles

Ghislain Picard

Ghislain Picard is Innu from the community of Pessamit. Since 1992, he is Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), a political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. As AFNQL Chief, he sits on the Assembly of First Nations’ Executive Committee and Management Committee and he is the spokesperson for Justice and Policing and Border Crossing.

Dana E. Powell

Dana E. Powell lives in the mountains of western North Carolina and works as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University, where she directs the undergraduate program in Social Practice and Sustainability. An ethnographer of landscapes and environmental politics in Indigenous North America, Powell has a particular interest in energy infrastructure, epistemology, and environmental justice movements. Her first book, Landscapes of Power: Politics of Energy in the Navajo Nation, was published by Duke University Press in early 2018.

Thierry Rodon

Thierry Rodon is an associate professor in the Political Science Department at Université Laval and holds a Research Chair in Northern Sustainable Development. He is also the director of the Interuniversity Centre for Aboriginal Studies and Research (CIERA). He specializes in northern policies and Arctic governance and has extensive experience working with Indigenous communities and northern institutions and leads MinErAL, an international research project on extractive industries and Indigenous livelihood.

Warren Bernauer

Warren Bernauer  is a doctoral candidate at York University in Human Geography. He recently defended his dissertation, which documents and critically analyzes conflicts over oil, gas, and uranium extraction in Nunavut, from 1970-2017. As part of his graduate research, he volunteered with the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization and Hamlet of Clyde River in their campaigns to stop proposed uranium mining and oil exploration. Warren has also worked as a land use planning and environmental assessment consultant to various indigenous and environmental organizations.

Monique Manatch

Monique Manatch  is a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. She is Executive Director and one of the founders of Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations. Her work has centred on the production media arts and multimedia arts. She has facilitated the development of Indigenous artists throughout Ontario and Quebec. Over the past 20 years Monique has produced several video documentaries about Indigenous issues. Monique is currently taking a Doctorate Program in Anthropology at Carleton University. Her degree focuses on the Indigenous use of digital technology.

Carole Brazeau

Carole Brazeau  is Anishinabe / Algonquin. She is the Executive Director of the First Peoples' Justice Center of Montreal. Carole is a 2016 UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Indigenous Fellow. Her interest include women resisting extractivism.

Jamie Kneen

Jamie Kneen has been with Mining Watch Canada since its creation in 1999. As Communications and Outreach Coordinator, he leads Mining Watch’s social media and public engagement work as well as strategic research and communications. His responsibilities also include the organisation’s research and advocacy in Africa (and previously, Latin America), as well as on uranium mining and environmental assessment policy and practice in Canada. With a degree in Biology (ecology) from McGill University, Jamie has been involved with environmental and resource management issues, including mining, and mostly related to indigenous land rights, for many years.

Kate Gunn

Kate Gunn is a lawyer and member of the British Columbia bar. She practices law at First Peoples Law Corporation, where she represents Indigenous groups across Canada on environmental and constitutional law issues. Kate is one of the founding members of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, and continues to serve on the board and to provide pro bono work for JCAP. She is currently undertaking an LLM at the University of British Columbia focused on issues related to the interpretation of the numbered treaties between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown.

Saleem H. Ali

Saleem H. Ali is an environmental planner whose research and practice focuses on ways of resolving ecological conflicts through technical and social mechanisms, as well as exploring novel ways of peace-building between corporations, governments and communities. He holds the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professorship in Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware. His books include Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future, (Yale Univ. Press); Environmental Diplomacy (with Lawrence Susskind, Oxford Univ. Press), Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (Univ. of Arizona Press). He is on twitter at @saleem_ali.

Jon Matthias Ahren

Jon Matthias Ahren   is a Professor of Law (PhD) at the Arctic University of Norway. He holds Master of Law (LLM) degrees from the Universities of Stockholm and Chicago. Åhrén’s academic writings includes Indigenous Peoples’ Status in the International Legal System (Oxford University Press). He has substantial practical experiences from working with Sami and indigenous rights, including in the negotiations on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and from representing Sami reindeer herding communities in their relationship with industry.

Maurice Joseph Kistabish

Maurice Joseph Kistabish  has more than 30 years of experience as a negotiator (including strategic planning and development, and communications) for First Nations communities in Quebec and Ontario,  Canada. He has particular expertise in building agreements with the mining and forestry sectors, and in preparing and negotiating land claims and land use agreements with the provincial and federal governments. He is currently the coordinator for Anishnabe O’T’Akiwa (AOT) an organisation bringing together five Anicinape (Algonquin) Communities in Northwestern Quebec and in Northeastern Ontario, which has the objective to move forward with a Comprehensive Land Claim and Self-Government with the Federal Crown. Maurice is currently pursuing a Masters in the School of Indigenous Studies at UQAT, analysing his personal experience from a scientific perspective in negotiating agreements between forestry and mining companies and the Wahgoshig First Nation and is a member of the Centre interuniversitaire d'études et de recherches autochtones(CIERA).

Sergio Campusano Villches

Sergio Campusano Villches is President of the Diaguita Community of Los Huasco Altinos, one of the oldest indigenous organizations in the third region of Chile. There are records of them in the Derecho Indiano, through the Tasa de Gamboa of 1580. In 1989, he was one of the promoters of the anthropological recognition of the cultures of the Huentelauquén, El Molle, Las Ánimas, Copiapó, Diaguita and Inkas in Huasco Alto.

Tara Scurr

Tara Scurr coordinates Amnesty International Canada’s Business and Human Rights campaigns in the Americas. She supports Indigenous peoples and settler communities in asserting their human rights in the context of Canadian oil, mining and gas investment. Because she believes deeply in justice and the right to remedy for corporate human rights abuses, she works with human rights defenders to hold companies and States accountable for human rights. She has a background in journalism and studied Communications at Simon Fraser University. She lives with her family in K’ómok unceded traditional territory on Vancouver Island.

Linda L. Shecapio

Linda L. Shecapio is a proud, passionate and a vibrant Eeyou/Eenou woman of Eeyou Istchee and a member of the Cree Nation of Mistissini.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University with a major in Political Science and a concentration in Public Affairs & Policy Analysis. Currently, Linda is the President to the Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association (CWEIA). She continues to advocate the core essence and the compelling strengths of all women and their importance of being the instrumental for a healthy family, community, nation and globally. As an Eeyou/Eenou woman, she considers herself as a catalyst in holding the high esteem of Eeyou/Eenou identity, language, culture and way of life.

Viviane Weitzner

Viviane Weitzner has been working on issues at the crossroads of Indigenous and Afro-Descendant rights and extractives in the Americas for over 15 years. Since 2013, she has worked as a policy advisor on business and human rights with the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme. Viviane has a PhD in Social Anthropology (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social - CIESAS, Mexico City), and a Master’s in Natural Resources Management (Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba). She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Anthropology at McGill University, supporting the development of the “Indigenous Rights, Indigenous Law and Interlegality” research axis of the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Alternative Development (CICADA). 

Charles Menzies

Charles Menzies (Gitxaala Nation) is Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His primary research interests are in the production of anthropological films, natural resource management (primarily fisheries related), political economy, contemporary First Nations' issues, maritime anthropology and the archaeology of north coast BC. He has conducted field research in, and produced films concerning, north coastal BC, Canada; Brittany, France; and Donegal, Ireland.

Martin Papillon

Martin Papillon is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal and Director of the Centre de Recherche sur les Politiques et le Development Social (CPDS). His work focuses on Indigenous policy and politics in Canada. He is the author of a number of articles on Indigenous-settlers relations in Canada, including a report co-authored with Thierry Rodon on avenues for implementing the principle of Indigenous Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Canada published by the Institute of Research on Public Policy. He has also published on Impact and Benefits Agreements between project proponents and Indigenous communities and on bilateral Indigenous-provincial relations in the context of land management.  His current SSHRC funded project looks at the politics of Indigenous consent to extractive projects in Canada, Brazil, Bolivia and Norway.

Olivier Courtemanche

Olivier Courtemanche is a lawyer specializing in Aboriginal law. He has been advising the IDDPNQL Center of Expertise on Impact and Benefit Agreements since 2016. Prior to that, he provided legal services to various Aboriginal communities in Quebec on matters related to the duty to consult, specific claims, Indian status and various areas of general law specifically applied to members of First Nations communities. Olivier completed a master's degree in constitutional law at Laval University and practiced general law for a few years. He then specialized in Aboriginal Law. He completed his doctoral studies in this field at the University of Ottawa where he was a research student at the Research Chair on Legal Diversity and Aboriginal Peoples. He is the author of numerous articles on the law of Indigenous Peoples and has given several conferences on the subject across Canada.

Gisèle Eva Côté

Gisèle Eva Côté leads IMPACT’s gender work, developing, implementing, and overseeing gender equality strategies in consultation with local communities.  Gisèle Eva has over 25 years of international experience, including designing and managing projects that address human rights, women’s rights, and indigenous rights, as well as rights to land and natural resources. She is skilled in program evaluation and alliance building and has extensive field experience with grassroots and non-profit organizations in Latin America and Africa (in particular, in the Democratic Republic of Congo). Gisèle Eva’s research has focused on crimes of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict contexts and examining mining issues through a gender lens.

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is a human rights activist, lawyer, notary, magister artium in environmental law and PhD candidate in constitutional law at the Mariano Gálvez University in Guatemala. During the last fifteen years, he has developed legal and political strategies to defend communities affected by the imposition of extractive projects in Guatemala, achieving the suspension of some of them for human rights violations.

Romeo Saganash

Romeo Saganash is the Member of Parliament for the Quebec riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou. In his time in office, Romeo has served as NDP critic for Energy and Natural Resources, International Development, and as deputy critic for Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs. In 1985, at the age of 23, he founded the Cree National Youth Council. In 1989, Romeo became the first Cree graduate to obtain a Bachelor of Law in Quebec. Between 1990 and 1993, he was Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees and then Vice-Chairman of the Cree Regional Authority. Beginning in 1993, he was Director of Quebec Relations and International Affairs for the Grand Council of the Crees. In 1997, he chaired the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment.  He is the first Aboriginal MP to be elected in Quebec, and he’s determined to get results for this community.


Funded by the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue

Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue Logo


In partnership with

GRITE logo


Aboriginal Peoples Research and Knowledge Network


uOttawa Faculty of Social Sciences Logo


Back to top