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Pamela has numerous publications including two books, legal academic journal publications, magazine articles and invited news editorials.


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Indigenous Nationhood – Empowering Grassroots Citizens

Indigenous Nationhood is a selection of blog posts by Pamela Palmater. Palmater offers critical legal and political commentary and analysis on legislation, Aboriginal rights, Canadian politics, First Nations politics and social issues such as murdered and missing Indigenous women, poverty, economics, identity and culture. Palmater’s writing tackles myths and stereotypes about Indigenous peoples head-on, discusses Indigenous nationhood and nation building, examines treaty rights and provides an accessible, critical analysis of laws and government policies being imposed on Indigenous peoples.

Fiercely anti-racist and anti-colonial, this book is intended to help rebuild the connections between Indigenous citizens and their home communities, local governments and Indigenous Nations for the benefit of future generations.

Book Cover

Beyond Blood – Rethinking
Indigenous Identity

Author Pamela Palmater argues that the Indian Act’s registration provisions (status) will lead to the extinguishment of First Nations as legal and constitutional entities. The current status criteria contain descent-based rules akin to blood quantum that are particularly discriminatory against women and their descendants.

Beginning with a historic overview of legislative enactments defining Indian status and their impact on First Nations, the author examines contemporary court rulings dealing with Aboriginal rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in relation to Indigenous identity. She also examines various band membership codes to determine how they affect Indigenous identity, and how their reliance on status criteria perpetuates discrimination. She offers suggestions for a better way of determining Indigenous identity and citizenship and argues that First Nations themselves must determine their citizenship based on ties to the community, not blood or status.

P. Palmater, “Living Treaty: A Mi’kmaw Story” in Mi’kmaw Treaty and Rights: Humanizing the Treaties, Marie Battiste and Jaime Battiste, eds., Cape Breton University Press 2016, (in publication).

P. Palmater, “Canada: As Long as the Grass Grows and Rivers Flow” in A Bold Vision: Women Leaders Imagining Canada’s Future (Charlottetown, PEI: Women’s Network Inc., 2014) 251.

P. Palmater, “Feathers vs. Guns” in Rabble’s Best of Rabble 2013 (Toronto: Rabble, 2014).

P. Palmater, “Why Are We Idle No More?”, in the Kino-nda-niimi Collective ed., The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement (Winnipeg, Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2014) 37.

P. Palmater, “Genocide, Indian Policy and the Legislated Elimination of Indians in Canada” (external link, opens in new window)  (2014) Aboriginal Policy Studies Journal. 

P. Palmater, “Matnm tel-Mi’kmawi: I’m Fighting for my Mi’kmaw Identity ” (2013) XXXIII vol. 1 Canadian Journal of Native Studies 147.

P. Palmater, “Harper’s Indigenous Manifesto: Erasing Canada’s Indigenous Communities” in Rabble’s Best of Rabble 2012 (Toronto: Rabble, 2013).

P. Palmater, “Unbelievable but Undeniable: Genocide in Canada” in Rabble’s Best of 2011
(Toronto: Rabble, 2012).

P. Palmater, “Stretched Beyond Human Limits: Death by Poverty in First Nations” (external link) (2011) 65/66 Can. Rev. of
Social Policy 112.

P. Palmater, “When Legislators Make Bad Law: Bill C-3’s Assault on Democracy”(2011) vol.15, no.1 Aboriginal Law, Ontario Bar Association

P. Palmater, “In My Brother’s Footsteps: Is R. v. Powley the Path to Recognized Aboriginal Identity for Non-Status Indians?” in J. Magnet, D. Dorey, eds., Aboriginal Rights Litigation (Markham: LexisNexis, 2003) 149.

P. Palmater, “An Empty Shell of a Treaty Promise: R. v. Marshall and the Rights of Non-Status Indians” (2000)
23 Dal. L.J. 102.

P. Palmater, “In Defense of Sovereignty” a review essay of A. Manuel’s Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call (Toronto: Literary Review of Canada, September-October 2015)
(in publication).

P. Palmater, “Justifying Blood Quantum as Sui Generis State Law” a review essay of K. Gover’s Tribal Constitutionalism: States, Tribes, and the Governance of Membership (2012) June/July Review of Constitutional Studies in June 2012).

P. Palmater, “Courting Controversy” (external link)  a review of J. Reilly, Bad Medicine: A Judge’s Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community (Toronto: Literary Review of Canada,
July-August 2011) .

P. Palmater, “Opportunity or Temptation: Plans for Private Property on Reserves Could Cost First Nations Their Independence" (external link) , book review of T. Flanagan, C. Alcantara, A. Le Dressay, Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (Toronto: Literary Review of Canada, 2010).

P. Palmater, “Harper’s 10 Year War on First Nations” (external link)  as part of The Harper Decade: Canada Has Changed [16 July 2015],

P. Palmater, “Stephen Harper Continues Canada’s Legacy of Genocide and Denial” (external link)  (Telesur English) [24 June 2015],

P. Palmater, “Canadian and Church Officials Must be Accountable for Genocide” (external link)  (Telesur English) [17 June 2015]

P. Palmater, “Canada was Killing Indians, Not Cultures” (external link)  (Telesur English) [8 June 2015],

P. Palmater, “Canada’s Disappeared Indigenous Women” (external link)  (Telesur English) [25 May 2015],

P. Palmater, “International Women’s Day: Indigenous Women still not equal in Canada” (Ottawa: CBC News, 2015)
[7 March 2015].

P. Palmater, “Can a new national chief make the AFN relevant?” (Ottawa: CBC News, 2014) [9 December 2014].

P. Palmater, “Indian status: Why Lynn Gehl’s court challenge matters” (Ottawa: CBC News Analysis, 2014) [20 October 2014].

P. Palmater, “Harper’s Assimilatory Agenda just had a head-on collision with Indigenous Resistance” (Ottawa: Hill Times, 2014) [12 May 2014].

P. Palmater, “Assembly of First Nations at Critical Crossroads”(Toronto: Toronto Star, 2014) [5 May 2014].

P. Palmater, A. Dumas, “Manitoba’s Epic Failure: Manitoba and Mining Companies Work Together to Deny First Nation Rights”(Winnipeg: Grassroots News, 2013) [10 September 2013].

P. Palmater, “A Movement to Protect the Earth Rises in Canada”(Minnesota, USA: On The Commons: Commons Magazine, 2013) [4 February 2013].

P. Palmater, “Native Winter is Here: Harper Better Buy a Warm Coat”feature article in Weetamah Newspaper (February 2013).

P. Palmater, “Why Idle No More Matters to Us All” feature article in NOW Magazine, vol.32, no.19 (January 2013).

P. Palmater, “Why We Are Idle No More” (Ottawa: Ottawa Citizen 2012) [29 December 2012].

P. Palmater, “Forcing our Hearts: Legislative Oppression of Indigenous Women in Canada” opinion piece for FUSE Magazine (May 2012).

P. Palmater, “Unbelievable but Undeniable: Genocide in Canada”opinion piece for Synergy Magazine (March 2012).

P. Palmater, “First Nations Fiasco”, opinion piece accepted for publication in Precedent Magazine: The New Rules of Law and Style (a law magazine) (Spring 2012).