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October 20, 2017
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Top (L-R): Commissioner Wilton Littlechild, Roger Maaka, Rodolfo Stavenhagen. Bottom (L-R): Luis Vittor, Ovide Mercredi, Sven Roald Nystø.
Top (L-R): Commissioner Wilton Littlechild, Roger Maaka, Rodolfo Stavenhagen. Bottom (L-R): Luis Vittor, Ovide Mercredi, Sven Roald Nystø.

Headlines (News Releases)


Public forum discusses Indigenous rights in global context

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jun 6/14| For Immediate Release


Terry Mitchell, Co-Director
Laurier Indigenous Health and Social Justice Research Group
519-884-0710 ext. 2052 or


Lori Chalmers Morrison, Acting Director
Communications & Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 3067 or

WATERLOO – According to a United Nations report released last month, Canada still has a long way to go in meeting the rights of its Indigenous peoples. But how does the state of Indigenous rights in Canada compare to other parts of the world?  

On June 12, the Laurier Indigenous Health and Social Justice Research Group (IHSJ) will present a rare opportunity to hear Indigenous leaders from around the world discuss challenges facing Indigenous peoples in different regions. The public forum, entitled “Resource Governance: Indigenous Rights in a Global Economy,” will feature six speakers, including Indigenous rights pioneer Rodolfo Stavenhagen, who was appointed the first United Nations special rapporteur on Indigenous rights in 2001. Joining Stavenhagen on the panel will be: 

  • Commissioner Wilton Littlechild, a former Canadian MP and North American representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. 
  • Roger Maaka, a professor of research and Maori and Indigenous Studies at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Taradale, New Zealand. 
  • Luis Vittor, a Peruvian economist and adviser to the Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations and the Confederation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining. 
  • Ovide Mercredi, a former National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations in Canada (1991-97) who led negotiations for the First Nations in the discussions leading up to the 1992 Charlottetown Accord. 
  • Sven Roald Nystø, a former president of the Sami Parliament in Norway (1997-2005) who has 14 years of experience on the Norwegian Royal Commission on Sami Rights. 

For more information on the speakers, click here.

“The internationalization of Indigenous rights and governance group, funded by CIGI and Laurier, is pleased to welcome the public to this prestigious panel of Indigenous leaders from around the world,” said Terry Mitchell, an associate professor of psychology at Laurier and co-director of the IHSJ. “We are excited to provide this opportunity for people to hear from pre-eminent Indigenous leaders and scholars in addressing environmental and human rights issues critical to the local and global stage. These are not only Indigenous issues, they are issues for all of us.”

Moderated by Darren Thomas, co-director of the IHSJ and a member of the Seneca Nation, the forum will discuss the political, cultural and territorial rights of Indigenous peoples and successes and challenges in different regions. The panelists will offer their perspectives and take questions from the audience.

The forum will take place Thursday, June 12 at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Auditorium (67 Erb St. West, Waterloo), running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free, however registration is encouraged as capacity is limited. To register for the event, click here. The forum will also be simultaneously webcast through the CIGI website


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