Indigenous Law Scholar Joshua Nichols Joins UAlberta Law

Expert on Indigenous legal issues will join Faculty July 1, 2018

Priscilla Popp - 13 April 2018

The University of Alberta Faculty of Law just added a valuable member to its team of esteemed Indigenous law scholars and professors.

The Faculty is very pleased to announce that Joshua Nichols, currently with the Schulich School of Administration at Dalhousie University, will join UAlberta Law as an Assistant Professor on July 1.

Nichols joins two other experts in Indigenous and Aboriginal Law at the Faculty: Assistant Professor Hadley Friedland and Professor Catherine Bell.

"Dr. Nichols is a terrific addition to our faculty in the areas of Canadian constitutionalism, Aboriginal rights and Indigenous law. He also brings expertise in a range of other areas including Indigenous economic development and governance, international Indigenous rights and resource development. Along with our recent hires of Dr. Hadley Friedland, Dr. Malcolm Lavoie and Dr. Darcy Lindberg, we are building an incredible team of experts on Indigenous legal issues. I consider it an honour to work with all of them," Bell said following news about the Faculty addition.

Originally from Treaty 8 territory in northeastern British Columbia (he is Métis), Nichols has achieved a number of notable academic accomplishments. For one, he has two PhDs - one in Law from the University of Victoria and another in Philosophy from the University of Toronto.

Though his role with UAlberta Law may be new to Nichols, the university is not.

Nichols is a UAlberta alumnus, having completed an MA in sociology and a BA in political science at the university. While his JD is from UBC, he has numerous connections to UAlberta Law faculty members - Professor George Pavlich was a reader for his MA and his paths have also previously crossed with Profs. Friedland and Darcy Lindberg (set to begin at UAlberta Law in 2019).

"Going back to the U of A for the interview and meeting people again was like coming full circle. It's nice to have active connections so I can hit the ground running," he said.

Nichols is very familiar with the areas UAlberta Law has prioritized in recent years, including Aboriginal and Indigenous Law and educating students on related legal issues.

"Having Hadley and Catherine and hiring Darcy puts U of A up there as a leader in teaching this area of law. It signals that the university is taking these issues very seriously," he said.

Nichols' dissertation at UVic was entitled "Reconciliation and the Foundations of Aboriginal Law in Canada," and he is also a co-investigator and Working Group Chair of Policy Innovation for a $2.5M SSHRC Partnership Grant entitled "Decolonizing Water: Building Resilient Water Futures."

He's also a research fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation's International Law Research Program, where he is researching the possible implications of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples implementation for constitutional law. His research interests include Indigenous governance, international law and governance, plurinational federalism, constitutional law and the history of political thought.