The Massey Dialogues — Dr. Dayna Scott on Fire in the Ring: Settler Law and Indigenous Jurisdiction on an Extractive Frontier

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The Massey Dialogues — Dr. Dayna Scott on Fire in the Ring: Settler Law and Indigenous Jurisdiction on an Extractive Frontier

Thursday, May 28 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Principal Des Rosiers hosts a conversation with Visiting Scholar Dr. Dayna Scott, former Justice of the Court of Appeal and member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation and incoming Senior Fellow The Honourable Harry LaForme, and Junior Fellow and student at the Faculty of Law, Myim Bakan Kline.

Using the case of the much-hyped “Ring of Fire” mineral deposits in Ontario’s far north and the remote Anishinaabe communities with everything at stake in the decision of whether to “open up the north”, Dr. Scott describes a decade of struggle over authority and jurisdiction on the land. She considers whether there is a potential mode of relating for settler and Indigenous legal orders that is not inevitably colonial. Instead of collision and conflict, it is imagined as a plural legal order based on Treaty principles. To achieve it, we will need explicitly anti-colonial tactics – breaking down and working against the prevailing legal regimes designed to further extractivism by denying Indigenous jurisdiction. The discussion will offer some inspiration from research collaborators in the heart of the Attawapiskat River watershed, stubbornly clinging to a different notion of their people’s futures on the land, their legal obligations to protect it, and their political authority to decide.


Click here to watch the livestreamThe Dialogues are open to the public – we invite everyone to join and take part in what will be a very informative online discussion. Participants are invited to submit questions to the speakers in real time via the youtube channel’s chat function as well as through Twitter with the hashtag #MasseyDialogues. For information about the Massey Dialogues salon series, click here.


Professor Dayna Nadine Scott was appointed as York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy in 2018. She is cross-appointed with York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. Professor Scott is a Co-Director of Osgoode’s Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic and a Co-Coordinator of the joint MES/JD program.

Professor Scott joined Osgoode’s faculty in 2006 after completing a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at McGill’s Faculty of Law and a Hauser Global Research Fellowship at NYU. Professor Scott’s research interests focus on contestation over extraction; exercises of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources; the distribution of pollution burdens affecting marginalized communities and vulnerable populations; gender and environmental health; and the justice dimensions of the transition to a greener economy.

Professor Scott is the Primary Investigator on the SSHRC-funded project, “Consent & Contract: Authorizing Extraction in Ontario’s Ring of Fire” with colleagues Andrée Boisselle, Deborah McGregor and Estair Van Wagner, and a related grant titled “Implementing a Regional, Indigenous-led, and Sustainability Informed Impact Assessment in the Ring of Fire.” She was also part of the SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, “Reconciling Sovereignties: New Techniques for ‘Authorizing’ Extraction on Indigenous Territories” led by Professor Shiri Pasternak, in partnership with the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET) and MiningWatch Canada.

Past projects included SSHRC-funded research in partnership with environmental justice activists from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, near Sarnia`s Chemical Valley, that applied a critical, feminist perspective to the examination of law’s treatment of the risks of long-term, low-dose exposures to pollutants, and another SSHRC-funded project (“Investigating Regulatory Chill”) that examined the contemporary constraints on regulation to protect the environment, with a focus on investor rights in the resource extraction context.

Recent publications explore impact-benefit agreements in “Extraction Contracting: The Struggle for Control of Indigenous Lands” (2020) in a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, co-edited with Shiri Pasternak; “Extractivism” in the Handbook on Law & Society edited by Mariana Valverde (forthcoming); the resurgence of Indigenous law in Treaty 9, with Andrée Boisselle (2019 UNB Law Review); the dynamics of “sacrifice zones” in the context of the emerging green energy economy (McGill Law Journal 2017, with Adrian A. Smith); anti-toxics politics (“Wanna-be Toxic Free? From Precautionary Consumption to Corporeal Citizenship” in Environmental Politics 2016); and the tactics of activists resisting tar sands extraction in Peace River Alberta (“‘We are the Monitors Now’: Experiential Knowledge, Transcorporeality and Environmental Justice” (2015) in Social & Legal Studies).

Professor Scott is the editor of Our Chemical Selves: Gender, Toxics and Environmental Health (UBC Press, 2015) and the past Director of the National Network on Environments and Women`s Health. Among other awards, Professor Scott has been a recipient of Fulbright and SSHRC Fellowships, and the Law Commission of Canada’s “Audacity of Imagination” Prize.

Professor Scott gave expert testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in June 2016 as part of their review of the Canadian Environmental Protection ActReforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: The assessment and regulation of toxic substances should be equitable, precautionary, and evidence-based. Brief to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, 3 June 2016.


The Honourable Harry S. LaForme is an Anishinabe of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Ontario. He was born and mostly raised on his reserve where some of his family continue to reside and remain active in First Nation’s government.

Judge LaForme graduated, Osgoode Hall Law School, 1977 and called to the Ontario Bar, 1979. He articled with Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt; joined the law firm as an associate, and shortly thereafter commenced private practice in Indigenous law focused on Constitutional and Charter issues. He has appeared before each level of Canadian Court, travelled extensively throughout Canada, and represented Canadian Indigenous interests in Geneva Switzerland, New Zealand, and the British Parliament.

Judge LaForme served as: Co-chair, Independent National Chiefs Task Force on Native Land Claims; Chief Commissioner, Indian Commission of Ontario; Chair, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Land Claims; and taught, “Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, Osgoode Hall Law School. In January 1994 he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, Ontario – then, one of 3 Indigenous judges ever appointed to this level of trial court in Canada. In November 2004, he was appointed a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal. He is the first Indigenous judge appointed to an appellate court in Canada’s history. He retired from the judiciary in October 2018. In December 2018 he commenced a position as Senior Counsel with Olthuis Kleer Townshend, LL.P.

Judge LaForme has been honoured with the gift of numerous Eagle Feathers including at his swearing in at the Ontario Court of Appeal, and by the National Indian Residential School Survivors Society. He was honoured with: the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Law & Justice; a Talking stick carved by Git’san artist Chuck (Ya’Ya) Heit; a bursary in his name for Indigenous first year law students by the University of Windsor Faculty of Law; and honourary Doctor of Law degrees from York University; University of Windsor, University of Toronto, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and an honourary Doctorate of Education from Nipissing University.

Judge LaForme has published numerous articles on issues related to Indigenous law and justice. He speaks frequently on Indigenous issues, Indigenous law, constitutional law, and civil and human rights.


Myim Bakan Kline, from Vancouver, is a Junior Fellow of Massey College and a JD Candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He received his BA (Political Science) with Honours and Distinction from the University of Victoria. His research and honours thesis concerned the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Health Law. Myim then served as a 2019 British Columbia Legislative Intern, where he crafted legislation at the Ministry of Health, conducted communications work with the Official Opposition Caucus, and attended constituency assignments in Vancouver and Terrace, BC.

Presently, Myim is a Research Assistant at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, focusing on the values underlying expressive and associate freedoms in the labour context, and he will soon begin work as an Educator with the Law in Action Within Schools Program (LAWS). He is the incoming Editorial Manager of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, the Vice-President of the Faculty of Law’s International Law Society, and a frequent contributor to the Committee for the Abolition of Solitary Confinement.

Finally, Myim has a passion for music. He has played drums in many groups including the UVIC Jazz Orchestra and the 2018 UVIC Battle of the Bands winning group, Author with Sunburn.