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Making Space for Indigenous Governance: Two Examples in Conversation

July 9, 2020 I 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT / 10:00-11:30 a.m. PDT I via Zoom

Indigenous governance is complex. Many First Nations communities continue to use their own governance systems while also having to use Indian Act governance as a result of Canadian law. This is true for many Anishinaabe communities in Canada, for example. In urban contexts, where band governance is often less present, Indigenous peoples organize politically in innovative ways.

In this session, Dr. Damien Lee and Marrissa Mathews, PhD Candidate, discuss Anishinaabe and urban governance systems, and some of the nuances often overlooked in mainstream political discussions.


This session is part of the IFL Virtual Series, co-presented by the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University and UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. The IFL Virtual Series brings together political practitioners from the Institute for Future Legislators to share their insights, experience and expertise. Please see virtual series page for more information on all upcoming events.


Damien Lee - IFLR virtual Series

Dr. Damien Lee is a cis-gendered racially-white man who belongs with Anishinaabeg of the northern shore of Lake Superior. He was adopted as an infant into Fort William First Nation in accordance with Anishinaabe law, and raised as Anishinaabe by his family.

Dr. Lee’s research focuses primarily on the resurgence of Indigenous legal and governance systems, and often considers how such systems are both impacted by and push back against settler colonial law in the present. Mentored by Anishinaabe knowledge holders Doug Williams and Marlene Pierre, Dr. Lee is an assistant professor in Ryerson University’s Department of Sociology.

Marrissa Mathews

Marrissa Mathews is Omushkegowuk Cree from Treaty 9. She is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Political Science.