Dwight Newman

Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
University of Saskatchewan
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Exploring ongoing development of indigenous rights and their interactions with natural resource development and constitutional and international law.

Research relevance

This research will lead to clearer understanding of Indigenous rights law and will contribute to policy approaches to meet the goals of rights holders and other stakeholders.

Balancing Indigenous Rights and Sustainable Development

Respecting the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous stakeholders requires a complex balancing act—one that has challenged legal systems in Canada and around the world.

Fortunately, Dr. Dwight Newman, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law, is able to provide well-researched, independent guidance to courts that are grappling with some of the most intractable questions in this field. Newman is helping provide a balance among different rights and interests in areas such as natural resource development that involves Indigenous communities.

For example, Newman aims to understand how courts, communities, policy-makers and other stakeholders can work together to create a policy framework that enables responsible resource development while respecting Indigenous rights. To do this, he is studying Indigenous rights norms both in Canada and within international law. He is examining how local circumstances make it more or less appropriate to draw on international legal experience in developing legal frameworks.

By looking at both constitutional and international law, Newman is also examining how these legal systems can adapt to offer a more effective voice to Indigenous communities. In addition, his research is shedding light on how Indigenous advocacy can best make use of the interaction between these different legal orders.

Newman’s research is providing answers that promise to help courts, communities, policy-makers and other stakeholders look at issues in innovative ways to respect the rights of indigenous communities while finding win-win outcomes for all.