Sean Robertson, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies
Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Native Studies


Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies
(780) 492-0522
2-59 Pembina Hall
8921 - 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H8

Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Native Studies



Post-Secondary Education

2011 Ph.D., Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Geography

2003 J.D., University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Law

1998 M.Arch., UBC, Architecture

1994 B.A., UBC, Fine Arts (Art History)

Additional Qualifications

2004 Called to the Bar as a Barrister & Solicitor, Law Society of British Columbia

Academic Appointments

2012-2016 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta

2016-present Associate Professor

2014-2017 Director of Graduate Studies

02/18-06/18 Associate Dean (Research) & Director of Graduate Studies


I am a non-Indigenous scholar who has spent most of his life on Coast Salish territories and currently resides on Treaty Six land. My research interests include Indigenous political issues and laws, cultural heritage, the Arctic, the built environment, and hate crimes. My work has been informed by legal geography and cultural geography, oftentimes in dialogue with -- and refracted by -- community participants. I have written about geographies of rights, spaces of legal abandonment, affective spaces, emotions and therapeutic landscapes, and the territoriality of law in Inuit, First Nations and/or non-Indigenous contexts. 

Since 2012, I have been working with Inuit communities in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut either on my own or in a team of scholars. I became the Principal Investigator for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant-funded project on Inuit laws and emotionality in 2014. Drawing from Inuit research methodologies, these collaborative projects have included four Elder-led youth land camps about caribou, fish, and seal, and related Inuit knowledge. 

If you would like to know more about my research or have an interest in graduate studies in these areas, then please get in touch.



Native Studies 111: Contemporary Perspectives in Native Studies

Native Studies 240: Introduction to Aboriginal Legal Issues (Blended & Online)

Native Studies 280 (Selected Topics): Repatriation, Intellectual Property and Beyond: The Law and Politics of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage

Native Studies 340: Aboriginal Legal Issues

Native Studies 355: Native Oral Traditions and Indigenous Knowledge

Native Studies 380 (Selected Topics): The North and its Peoples


NS 240 - Introduction to Indigenous Legal Issues

A critical introduction to Indigenous legal issues in Canada through historical and theoretical interpretations of legislation and major court cases from 1763 to the present. The course problematizes the neutral operation of law in society. It thereafter examines the role of law in the colonial context (with a focus on gender), the development of treaty and Aboriginal rights, the obligations of the crown, the criminalization of Indigenous peoples, and reconciliation. Sections offered at an increased rate of fee assessment; refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations sections of the Calendar.

NS 390 - Research Methods in Indigenous Studies

A survey of different disciplinary methods for conducting Indigenous Studies research and data analysis, this course will also review and critique strategies and techniques applied by social science researchers with Indigenous peoples. Prerequisites: NS 110, 111 and 290 or consent of Faculty.

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