The Digital Archives and Marginalized Communities Project
Co-investigators:  Kiera Ladner (Political Studies and CRC in Indigenous Governance) and Shawna Ferris (Women's and Gender Studies)

This SSHRC and CFI-supported project is an interdisciplinary research collaboration developing three separate but related digital archives using a participatory design process with the communities involved.  Working titles for these archives are:  the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Database (MMIWD), the Sex Work Database (SWD), and the Post-Apology Residential School Database.  Focusing on three distinct but related communities, we strive to understand and demonstrate how these communities can adopt digital archival tools in ways that reflect community derived knowledge, ways of being, and social justice aims.  Other objectives for the project include:  the employment of multiple forms of digital media to mobilize knowledge that undermines, contests, and re-envisions conceptions of violence against certain people as normal; and the fostering of dialogue between stakeholder communities.  Ultimately, we hope to achieve these ends using both on and offline tools such as new social media, online and 'real world' meetings and conference participation, and collaborative curation of digital 'exhibits.'

Key Words:  decolonization, community empowerment, anti-violence

Comparative Indigenous Constitutional Law and Politics Project
Primary Investigator:  Kiera Ladner (Political Studies and CRC in Indigenous Governance)

In November 2010, the Prime Minister of Australia announced the government's intent to establish a commission to consider options for constitutional reform which would address the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.  Established in December 2010, the experts panel was charged with the responsibility for recommending options which could be put to the Australian people in referendum.  Prior to reporting on such options and opportunities, the panel travelled the country and hosting public consultations (ending September 2011) on the matter of Indigenous inclusion and Indigenous constitutional visions.  In January 2012, the panel delivered its recommendations to Parliament for a constitutional referendum to address the inclusion of Aboriginal peoples in the constitution as well as the racism that currently exists therein.  A referendum was to have been held by November 2013 but has now been delayed by three years (2016).  In the mean time, the government of New Zealand has also announced its intentions to consider the drafting of a written constitution and with it to address in detail the constitutional standing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Established in December of 2011, New Zealand's constitutional advisory panel is charged with engaging both public and leaders (experts and community) in consultations, and reporting on matters of constitutional urgency and consensus to the government by the end of 2014.  Separate from the official panel, a number of Maori leaders (community and academic) have joined forces and launched their own panel.

For an Indigenist constitutional scholar, the opening of these constitutions and the succeeding debates over issues of nationhood, Indigenous sovereignty, Indigenous rights, represents the chance of a lifetime.  It represents an unparalleled opportunity to examine Indigenous constitutional politics in Anglo-Settler States.  The comparative study will examine Indigenous politics in Australia and New Zealand as defined by Indigenous constitutional visions, and (competing) visions of decolonization, reconciliation and resurgence as expressed through opportunity structures created by constitutional debates and processes.  It should be noted that this study builds upon research that I have already completed on Canada previously (thus enabling a 3 country comparison when the studies are combined).

The proposed research is designed to have resonance within both the academic and Indigenous communities by continuing to develop and interrogate theories pertaining to Indigenous politics and modern constitutionalism in Anglo-settler societies.  The main objectives of this research program are:  (1) to create narratives of Indigenous constitutional politics (based on interviews with leaders, grassroots, academics and activists; existing literatures; archival sources; government documents and case law);  (2) to conduct Iwi/clan/nation specific constitutional research so as to facilitate the documentation of an Indigenist understanding of Indigenous constitutional histories and visions past and present;  (3) to understand with greater certainty how opportunity structures and state framing define and confine Indigenous constitutional visions and efforts to mobilize such visions;  (4) to test my existing context-bound finding pertaining to issues of political reconciliation, decolonization, resurgence and constitutional politics; and,  (5) to support Indigenous people sin Anglo-settler societies in their own constitutional struggles.

Indigenous Leadership Initiative
An Outreach Initiatve

The Indigenous Leadership Initiative seeks to develop research and leadership skills while enhancing knowledge about the political legacies of colonization, Indigenous governance, and decolonization. Learn more here













 Talking Treaty at 3CR
Community radio, Melbourne, Aus


 December 2017


Self-determination Community Consultations in Melbourne, Austrailia

December 13, 2016