Sterling Prize 2020: How Canada changed the definition of genocide while engaging in crimes against Indigenous Peoples

Tamara Starblanket is the recipient of the 2020 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy for her book Suffer the Little Children Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State. Starblanket’s book provides an exacting international legal analysis of genocide and makes publicly comprehensible its many human and moral dimensions. Click here to learn more and purchase the book.

Starblanket, Dean of Academics at Native Education College and a Cree woman from Ahtahkakoop First Nation in Treaty Six, will receive the Sterling Prize on Thursday, October 29 at the Native Education College in Vancouver.

Register for a link to watch a livestream of the event where Starblanket will give a presentation on Canada’s role in changing the definition of genocide and the legal ramifications internationally.

The Sterling Prize was first awarded in 1993 and remains committed to recognizing work that provokes and contributes to the understanding of controversy, while presenting new ways of looking at the world and challenging complacency. The prize recognizes work across disciplines and departments and is awarded annually by the Sterling Prize committee.

Panelists 

SHARON VENNE

Sharon H. Venne (Notokwew Muskwa Manitokan) is a Cree woman. She has worked at the United Nations prior to the establishment of the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples in 1982. The background research to the many clauses on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is included in her book Our Elders Understand Our Rights: Evolving International Law Regarding Indigenous Peoples. In addition, Sharon has written numerous articles and edited materials related to the rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has lectured on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, France, Italy, Hawaii, the United States and Canada. Sharon worked to secure a UN Study on Treaties from the first introduction of the resolution in 1983 until the report was finalized in 1999. She worked to ensure that the report reflected Indigenous laws and norms. Sharon has written numerous articles on the Treaty Rights of Indigenous Peoples. All her work internationally and domestically relates to the promotion of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially rights related to lands, resources and treaties. Sharon has written extensively on the laws of Cree Peoples related to treaty making, published in Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada (Michael Asch ed.), Natives and Settlers – Now & Then (Paul DePasquale ed.) and in other publications. Her most recent published article is “Manufactured consent: how state governments manufacture consent and use it against Indigenous Nations at the domestic and international level” in a book edited by Irene Watson: Indigenous Peoples as Subjects of International Law.

IRENE WATSON

Professor Irene Watson belongs to the Tanganekald, Meintangk and Bunganditj First Nations peoples of the Coorong and the south-east of South Australia. She is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, the David Unaipon Chair, and Professor of Law at the University of South Australia. Over many years, Irene has worked with First Nation Peoples across Australia in advancing Aboriginal rights. As a Professor of Law, her research focuses upon Indigenous Peoples in domestic and international law, and she has published the book Aboriginal Peoples, Colonialism and International Law.

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