2014 Eakin Lecture - Discussing Indigenous Agency - with Professors Cheryl Suzack (2014 Eakin Fellow) and special guest N. Bruce Duthu

Monday, March 31, 2014 16:30
Faculty Club Faculty Club Ballroom, main floor, 3450 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 0E5, CA

Professor Cheryl Suzack, (Batchewana First Nations), Assistant Professor of English, University of Toronto, 2014 Visiting Eakin Fellow

"Reparatory Justice, Human Rights, and Indigenous Feminisms"

Ruti Teitel’s important work Transitional Justice argues that “reparatory justice” as a form of redress within transitional justice movements obligates the state to balance a competing set of interests in redressing victims of state wrongs. Reparations, for Teitel, are both rituals of incorporation and social acknowledgements of wrongdoing, required to restore to the victim what has been taken from that person, a restoration that works at all levels of the social order: identity, status, material wealth, reputation, and public acknowledgement. In this talk, Suzack argues that the ‘rituals of reparation’ that Teitel advances are complicated by their enactment in Western states that have not undergone regime change. Suzack argues that the rituals of reparation require the person or community who has suffered the loss to determine the form of reparation most appropriate to the harm inflicted. Suzack will suggest that Indigenous women’s activism shows this requirement. To illustrate this argument, Suzack will focus on three case studies of Indigenous resistance movements in Canada that call into question the ideals of reparatory justice: the Sahtu Dene’s efforts to restore land polluted through uranium mining, Bella Bella resistance to the Northern Gateway Project, and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

followed by ... 

Professor N. Bruce Duthu, Samson Occom Professor and Chair of Native American Studies, Dartmouth College, enrolled tribal member, United Houma Nation of Louisiana

"Of Guardian and Wards: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism"

The “peculiarization” of American Indians throughout large swaths of American history involved the recognition of social and cultural elements within tribal societies that served to justify, in the minds of the dominant society, the marginalization and suppression of Indian tribes.  This talk will briefly consider how this strategy of peculiarization morphed from an ideological conceit into an instrumentality of law that became the underpinning for a radicalized plenary federal power and allowed the national government to empire at will over tribal nations and Indian people.  In particular, Duthu will examine  how the US Supreme Court employed legal concepts like incorporation and dependency over the years to inhibit, if not totally suppress, the ethos of legal pluralism that characterized formative relations with Indian nations in the early American period.

Moderated by MISC Acting Director Suzanne Morton, Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies.

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