Departmental Speaker – Dr. Martin Papillon

You are invited to attend the event for Dr. Martin Papillon’s departmental speaking seminar.

Dr. Papillon’s seminar is titled “Norm Translation and the Performative Politics of Indigenous Consent in Canada.”



While it is increasingly recognized as a core element of the emerging international indigenous rights regime, the principle of Indigenous free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) remains a contested norm, especially in the context of land and natural resource development. Building on the literature on international human rights norms translation, I suggest we need to look at FPIC implementation as a political struggle that depends not only on institutional legacies but also on the agency of various actors who seek to appropriate the norm and institutionalize it according to their own interests and worldview.  Looking more specifically at Canada, I suggest that government and industry actors are actively engaged in framing FPIC, but so are Indigenous nations and communities. A number of Indigenous nations have chosen to give substance to the norm by developing their own mechanisms to express their free, prior and informed consent. I illustrate the potential and limits of this strategy of Indigenous appropriation through performative politics using recent examples from mining in Northern Quebec and pipeline politics in British Columbia.



Born in Montreal, Martin has a PhD in Political Science from Université de Montréal. He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal, where he is also Director of the Centre de Recherche sur les Politiques et le Développement Social (CPDS). His academic work focuses on federalism and citizenship in the context of Indigenous land claims and self-government agreements. He is currently working on a comparative project on Indigenous peoples’ participation in natural resource extraction and the implementation of the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in Latin America, Canada and Scandinavia. He is the author of a number of journal articles and books on Indigenous politics in Canada, especially in Quebec. He is the author of the main reference volume on Indigenous politics in Quebec, Les Autochtones et le Québec: des premiers contacts au Plan Nord. He also edited State of the Federation: Aboriginal Multilevel Governance in Canada with McGill-Queen’s Press.