Rachel Ariss

Dr. Rachel Ariss received her Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Master of Laws degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Toronto, Ontario. Following her graduate education, she joined Lakehead University's Sociology Department, teaching sociology of law, law and society and reproductive rights until 2010.

Dr. Ariss' research focuses on the relationships between law and social change, and how law shapes (and misshapes) community. Her current research projects include:

- Aboriginal land rights and mining;
- How midwives understand social change work since midwifery was regulated in Ontario; and
- Legal parentage in gestational surrogacy.

She has published in the:
- Canadian Journal of Law and Society;
- Canadian Journal of Women and the Law;
- Canadian Journal of Midwifery Research and Practice; and
- Indigenous Law Journal.

In 2012, Dr. Ariss published, with John Cutfeet, Keeping the Land: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Reconciliation and Canadian Law through Fernwood Publishing.

She has served on the William W. Creighton Youth Justice Services Board, and on the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital Research Ethics Board in Thunder Bay. As a law student, Dr. Ariss worked at Parkdale Community Legal Services in poverty law, and articled with the United Steelworkers. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian Association for Law and Society.
Keeping the Land
Format: Paperback
  • When the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug’s traditional territory was threatened by mining exploration in 2006, they followed their traditional duty to protect the land and asked the mining exploration company, Platinex, to leave. Platinex left — and then sued the remote First Nation for $10 billion. The ensuing legal dispute lasted two years and eventually resulted in the jailing of community leaders. Ariss argues that though this jailing was extraordinarily punitive and is indicative of continuing colonialism within the legal system, some aspects of the case demonstrate the potential of Canadian law to understand, include and reflect Aboriginal perspectives. Connecting scholarship in Aboriginal rights and Canadian law, traditional Aboriginal law, social change and community activism, Keeping the Land explores the twists and turns of this legal dispute in order to gain a deeper understanding of the law’s contributions to and detractions from the process of reconciliation.

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