Ms Brenda Gunn

Ms Brenda Gunn

Contact details:

Email:, Phone: 204.272.1667


Brenda L. Gunn, Associate Professor Robson Hall Faculty of Law. She has a B.A. from the University of Manitoba and a J.D. from the University of Toronto.  She completed her LL.M. in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy at the University of Arizona. She articled with Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now Ecojustice Canada). She was called to the bars of Law Society of Upper Canada and Manitoba. Brenda also worked at a community legal clinic in Rabinal, Guatemala on a case of genocide submitted to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. She has also worked with First Nations on Aboriginal and treaty rights issues in Manitoba. As a proud Metis woman she continues to combine her academic research with her activism pushing for greater recognition of Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights as determined by Indigenous peoples’ own legal traditions. Her current research focuses on promoting greater conformity between international law on the rights of Indigenous peoples and domestic law.  She continues to be actively involved in the international Indigenous peoples’ movement, regularly attending international meetings, including the review of Canada before CERD and CESCR.  She provided technical assistance to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the analysis and drafting of the report summarizing the responses on the survey on implementing the UN Declaration.   She developed a handbook on understanding and implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that is quickly becoming one of the main resources in Canada on the UN Declaration and has delivered workshops on the Declaration across Canada and internationally.  In 2013, she participated in the UNITAR Training Programme to Enhance the Conflict Prevention and Peacemaking Capacities of Indigenous Peoples’ Representatives, which continues to impact her research.

Selected publications
Refereed Contributions
Brenda Gunn, “More than Money: Using International Law of Reparations to Determine Fair Compensation for Infringements of Aboriginal Title,” (2013) 46:2 UBC Law Review.
Brenda Gunn, “Protecting Indigenous Peoples’ Lands: Making Room for the Application of Indigenous Peoples’ Laws within the Canadian Legal System,” (2007) 6.1 Indigenous Law Journal 31.
Brenda Gunn, “Impacts of The North American Free Trade Agreement on Indigenous Peoples and Their Interests,” (2006) 9 Balayi: Culture, Law and Colonialism 5.
S. Brennan, B. Gunn, G. Williams, “‘Sovereignty’ and Treaty-Making Between Indigenous Peoples and Australian Governments,” (2004) 26.3 Sydney Law Review 307.

Forthcoming Contributions
Brenda Gunn, “Overcoming Obstacles to Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” submitted to Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, 13,000 words.
Brenda Gunn, “Self-Determination and Indigenous Women: Legitimacy through Inclusion,” resubmitted to Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 8,700 words.
Brenda Gunn, “More Than Rhetoric: Achieving Reconciliation Through Fulfillment of Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Self-Determination,” resubmitted to Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 12,000 words.
Book Chapters
Brenda Gunn, “Promoting Conformity: International Indigenous Rights and Canadian Constitution,” in Indivisible: Indigenous Human Rights, Joyce Green, ed, Fernwood Publishing, forthcoming, 8,600 words.
Brenda Gunn, “Embodying the Principles in the UN Declaration: Reflections on the Federal Court Aboriginal Bar Liaison Committee,” in Our Way: UN Declaration and Indigenous Laws, Mary Eberts and Sakej Henderson, eds, Native Law Centre, Saskatoon, forthcoming in 2013, 6,900 words.

Non-Refereed Contributions
Brenda Gunn, “Reconciling Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights with International Trade Regulations” (LL.M. Thesis, University of Arizona, 2006).
Brenda Gunn, “Self-Determination as the Basis for Reconciliation: Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” (2012) 7.30 Indigenous Law Bulletin 22.
Brenda Gunn, “Let’s Get on With It: Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” (2011) 16.1 Justice As Healing 1.
Brenda Gunn, “Understanding and Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: An Introductory Handbook” (2011), 36 pages.
Brenda Gunn, Note on International Developments: “Extension of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People’s Mandate,” (2007) 11.3 Australian Indigenous Law Review, 115.

2013, “Final summary of responses to the questionnaire seeking the views of States and Indigenous Peoples on best practices regarding possible appropriate measures and implementation strategies to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” provided technical assistance and drafted Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People.
2012, “Living Together Differently: Moving Past IRS Legacy Through Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Right of Self-Determination,” commissioned research report for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
2012, Indigenous Bar Association in Canada NGO Submission to the Seminar on “Strengthening partnership between indigenous peoples and States: Treaties, agreements and constructive arrangements,” to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Doc HR/GENEVA/ /SEM/NGOs/2012/BP.16.


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