Valley of the Birdtail: An Ojibway Reserve, a White Town, and the Legacy of Racism


Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 316, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

Please join us for talk by Andrew Stobo Sniderman, currently an O'Brien Fellow in Residence at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.


Why do Indigenous students on reserve receive less government investment in their educations than other Canadians? How did neighbours become separate and unequal? Andrew Stobo Sniderman is trying to answer these questions by studying 140 years of history of a reserve and the neighbouring town in rural Manitoba. His research explores a case of discrimination from the perspectives of an Indigenous community and a non-Indigenous community. Unequal education funding is a symptom of a larger problem: there is no basic agreement on what “equality” and “fairness” mean or require.

About the speaker

Andrew Stobo Sniderman is a lawyer and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto's law school, Swarthmore College and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. He has worked for Justice Edwin Cameron at South Africa’s Constitutional Court, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Zimbabwe, and Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, an Indigenous rights law firm in Toronto.

He was recently the human rights policy advisor to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. His writing has been published in Maclean’s, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and London’s Sunday Times. He won the award for best print feature of 2011 from the Canadian Association of Journalists for his profile of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In April 2018, he made his first oral argument before the Supreme Court of Canada, in a case about the constitutionality of mandatory fines for criminal offenses.

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