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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)

April 17, 1979: Ed Head (centre) leads Métis protesters in a march at the
legislative building to demand provincial job-creating initiatives, Manitoba legislative building, 1979. Image: Louis Riel Institute.


UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Implementation

The Centre for Human Rights Research supports a research project focusing on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and supporting the work of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This project is guided by International Chief Wilton Littlechild and Celeste McKay.  

This project provides opportunities for Indigenous law students to complete research and hosted a national academic forum on the human rights of Indigenous peoples in January 2019, a public lecture on Indigenous self-determination by UN Expert Member Megan Davis and a virtual expert seminar in February 2021. Another international academic forum was held in March 2022. Professor Brenda Gunn, Academic and Research Director at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has co-hosted these events. 

Alexey Tsykarev, Edtami Mansayagan, Diego Tituaña, Mariam Wallet Med Aboubakrine, Edward John, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Erika Yamada, Kristen Carpenter
Alexey Tsykarev, Edtami Mansayagan, Diego Tituaña, Mariam Wallet Med Aboubakrine, Edward John, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Erika Yamada, Kristen Carpenter


Missing the Bus: Indigenous Women, Two-Spirit People and Public Transit in Western Canada

Dr. Adele Perry, Director of the Centre for Human Rights Research is working alongside Co-Investigator Jocelyn Thorpe and Collaborator Karine Duhamel in this SSHRC and Infrastructure “Knowledge Synthesis” project that examines the connections between public transit, especially intracity or long distance transit, and Indigenous women and Two-Spirit Plus people in Western Canada. You can read more about the project in UM Today.

The full the report is available here

View our project: Missing the Bus: Indigenous Women, Two-Spirit People and Public Transit in Western Canada


Debunking Residential School Denialism in Canada

Given the growing popularity of the “mass grave hoax” narrative, especially on the far-right in Canada and the United States, and recent calls for Canadians to take responsibility for countering such harmful misinformation, Reid Gerbrandt and Dr. Sean Carleton, assistant professor in history and Indigenous studies at the University of Manitoba, decided to investigate the claims of a media conspiracy and fact-check them against the evidence of what was actually reported in Canada.

The full report outlining their findings and recommendations can be accessed here


Loss and Survival

The Centre for Human Rights Research co-sponsors events on Indigenous rights, including the launch of the book Dammed.

People attend the second annual Orange Shirt Day Survivors Walk and Pow Wow on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, September 30, 2022. Image: John Woods, The Canadian Press
People attend the second annual Orange Shirt Day Survivors Walk and Pow Wow on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, September 30, 2022. Image: John Woods, The Canadian Press

Land Back

For Earth Day 2021, the Centre for Human Rights Research hosted a screening of the first of a series of videos produced by the David Suzuki Foundation exploring the concept of LAND BACK. Panelists explored themes of Land Back and the opportunities it brings. Watch the video of the event here.


Water Security

Dr. Nicole Wilson chaired a panel discussion in April 2022 on the many complexities of water (in)security for Indigenous peoples. Panelists engaged with the ways that water (in)security is (re)produced by jurisdictional and regulatory injustices and the broader political and economic asymmetries created by settler-colonial water governance. They also explored the distinct understandings of security and well-being that flow from Indigenous relationships to water as a living entity and the ways they shape desirable water futures. View the discussion below.

Louis Riel statue in Winnipeg. Image: Stephen Zacharias
Louis Riel statue in Winnipeg. Image: Stephen Zacharias

Affiliate Researchers

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    Shirley Thompson

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  • niigaanwewidam_james_sinclair
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    Karine Duhamel

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    Camille Callison

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    Brenda Elias

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    Cary Miller

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    Brenda Gunn

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