Damien Lee

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Assistant Professor Associate Fellow, Yellowhead Institute Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Biskaabiiyang and Indigenous Political Resurgence Faculty of Arts Department of Sociology Toronto, Ontario damien.lee@ryerson.ca Office: (416) 979-5000 ext. 6212

Bio/Research

Dr. Damien Lee is a cis-gendered racially-white man who belongs with Anishinaabeg of the northern shore of Lake Superior. He was adopted as an infant into Fort William First Nation in accordance with Anishinaabe law, and raised as Anishinaabe by his family. He was mentored by Anishinaabe knowledg...

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Bio/Research

Dr. Damien Lee is a cis-gendered racially-white man who belongs with Anishinaabeg of the northern shore of Lake Superior. He was adopted as an infant into Fort William First Nation in accordance with Anishinaabe law, and raised as Anishinaabe by his family. He was mentored by Anishinaabe knowledge holders Doug Williams and Marlene Pierre.

Dr. Lee’s Canada Research Chair (CRC) focuses primarily on the practical ways in which Anishinaabe communities are rebuilding their inherent political and legal orders, particularly as they intentionally move away from settler colonial legislation such as the Indian Act. While it is one thing to commit to moving away from such legislation, navigating the day-to-day decisions on how to restrengthen Anishinaabe governance systems can be much more complex. It is true that colonization has destroyed some aspects of Indigenous life, but it has done a far better job at convincing us that Anishinaabe political orders are not valid, that they are not useful, or that they simply never existed. Biskaabiiyang flips this narrative on its head: meaning “returning to ourselves,” biskaabiiyang to me is a process of finding those pieces of political knowledge left by the trail, piecing them back together, and creating new pieces when needed. Dr. Lee uses the biskaabiiyang approach when working with Anishinaabe communities to ensure that research goals and findings serve community-driven needs and aspirations. Beyond his CRC work, Dr. Lee is considered an expert on First Nation band membership issues; he has also published on colonial entanglements within the Canadian civil society sector.


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