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Webinar – Unpacking the Traps: Understanding Indigenous Sovereignty in the Mi’kmaq Lobster “Dispute”

Webinar Date: May 5, 2021

Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Registration closes: May 3, 11:59 p.m.


In the fall of 2020, media attention in Canada turned to rising tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous lobster fishers in Nova Scotia. Characterized as a “dispute”, reporting positioned the treaty rights of the Sipekne’katik First Nation as conflicting with non-Indigenous concerns around over-fishing and depleting valuable lobster stocks. Many students and teachers were left with questions about this account and how historical treaties, legal decisions and issues of Indigenous sovereignty might change the story. Please join OJEN with panelists Bryce Edwards (Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP) and David Walders (Indigenous Innovation Initiative) for a session exploring how the history of contact informs notions of legitimacy and sovereignty in discussions around honouring treaty rights.


David Walders, H.B.A. (Trinity College) 2005, J.D. (Toronto), 2008, is the Deputy Director of the Indigenous Innovation Initiative, a platform to provide funding and support for Indigenous Innovators and entrepreneurs. A securities lawyer, he has served as Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council at the University of Toronto since 2013. Before that, he worked at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in the Legal, Economic and Social Affairs Section.  He began his career as a Corporate Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City, where he practiced primarily in Capital Markets.  David is Anishinaabe, and a member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation.

Bryce Edwards is a partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend, in Toronto. His Aboriginal rights law practice includes representing First Nations in discussions with the Crown on legislative reform and regulatory development. He has done significant work on various consultation, mining and land use planning-related initiatives. Bryce also works with First Nations negotiating and litigating about natural resource development projects, advises First Nations within specific claims processes, assists with consultations with various levels of government and proponents, and litigates major claims regarding treaty rights and Aboriginal title. Before joining OKT, Bryce was a litigation associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York, working on complex commercial litigation. He is the co-founder and first Editor-in-Chief of the Indigenous Law Journal at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

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