My research interests are interdisciplinary and my current work is at the intersection of socio-legal theory, Indigenous epistemology, and Indigenous land title cases (in particular, Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia) in Canada. Recent work has focussed on “oral tradition” as legal fiction in the Tsilhqot’in case; on the concept of “time immemorial” in Calder, Van der Peet, and Tsilhqot’in; and on spatial deixis in Tsilhqot’in testimony, part of a larger project on the discursive production of “oral history,” “oral tradition,” and discursive mapping strategies in the Tsilhqot’in case. I am honoured to have been invited to collaborate with Chief Roger William (Xeni Gwet’in First Nation) on a book-length oral history of the Tsilhqot’in land title case. Future projects include the development of the Tsilhqot’in Title Case Website, a community-based website focused on the many dimensions of Tsilhqot’in law, knowledge and culture which characterize the Plaintiff’s case, expressed in the context of their enduring power and importance for Tsilhqot’in people. I’m grateful to all of the Tsilhqot’ins who have shared knowledge, wisdom and hospitality with me and to the Xeni Gwet’in nation for the privilege of working in your community. Sechanalyagh!
My earlier work focussed on expressive freedoms, censorship & regulatory discourses in Canada and I served as Expert witness in key expressive freedoms cases including Little Sister’s (1994), Surrey School Board (1998) and R.v. Sharpe (2002). I’ve written on censorship in Canada, and on topics ranging from James Joyce and semiotics to Marshall McLuhan and Giambattista Vico to Nicole Brossard, Jay Macpherson, Margaret Atwood and Garry Thomas Morse.
Professor of English, Faculty Associate of the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, Faculty Associate of the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, member of the Law and Society Program, associated with the Faculty of Education’s Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry (CCFI) and with the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program (ISGP), former Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature (1985-90), University of British Columbia. Killam Teaching Prize, University of British Columbia, 2006.
The second anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Tsilhqot’in Title Case was on June 26th, 2016. Watch the uncut footage of the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs’ press conference on June 26th, 2014 here.