#CWNSYP Webinar: Water Rights in Canada from an Indigenous and Legal Perspective
Join us for a webinar that highlights Indigenous and legal perspectives on rights to water in Canada. Leslee White-Eye, former Chief and specialist in Indigenous governance and education policy, will begin our webinar with an Anishinaabe welcoming. Next, Brandon Graham, Treaty Research Coordinator at Chippewas of the Thames First Nations, will discuss the Nation’s claims to the Thames River waterbeds. This First Nation, located in southwestern Ontario, is a single signatory to the Longwood Treaty and maintain that their rights to the waterbed were never surrendered through the Treaty process. Brandon will explain the significance of holding title rights to a waterbed and how the Nation continues to assert their rights. Our next speaker, Nick Nesbitt from the Earth Law Center, will discuss the establishment of water rights to water bodies in Canada from a legal perspective. He will explain the process of establishing rights for a river and how this remedies some of the deficiencies of current environmental law. Nick will highlight the work he is undertaking to establish rights for a river in Canada — a new case in the early stages of development in collaboration with a First Nation in British Columbia.
Leslee White-Eye is the former Chief of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and the nation’s first elected woman chief. She is Anishinaabe Ojibwe from the Great Lakes region and works as the Structural Readiness Coordinator for eight First Nations in Ontario seeking jurisdiction over education. During her term as Chief, Leslee brought local, regional and national attention to the environment, the importance of water and how these important issues go hand-in-hand with First Nation treaties and Aboriginal rights and titles.
Brandon Graham is originally from London, Ontario and can trace his ancestry back to early European settlers in the Longwoods region. He attended Western University and the University of Toronto and holds degrees in philosophy and theology. Brandon is currently working as the Treaty Research Coordinator at Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, where he is investigating the nation’s Treaty history.
Nick Nesbitt completed an undergraduate degree in political science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2018, he travelled to the United Kingdom to study at Durham University, where he completed a Master of Sustainability, Culture, and Development. He is currently completing a Master of Law (International Law and Governance) and interning for the Earth Law Center, which is focused on advancing the rights of nature in Canada.