Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Deborah McGregor

Deborah McGregor


Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice


PhD Forestry, University of Toronto
MES Environmental Studies, York University
BSc Psychology, University of Toronto

Research Keywords

Indigenous Environmental Justice; Indigenous Governance; Sustainability; Water Governance; Indigenous Intellectual Traditions.

Deborah McGregor

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100

Research Interests

As Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, cross-appointed with Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environment and Urban Change at York University, I am at the forefront of Indigenous environmental justice research as well as Indigenous research theory and practice. My work has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, climate justice, and Indigenous research theory and methodologies. 

Over the years, I have achieved international recognition for both the content of my research and my innovative approach to knowledge mobilization using digital and social media to engage Indigenous communities and the interested public.  Examples of my work can be found on the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project website and the UKRI International Collaboration on Indigenous Research  I also spend a great deal of time engaging students in my work and supporting them in their own, with significant focus in the following : Indigenous climate justice, food security/sovereignty, Indigenous legal orders/governance, water justice/governance, Indigenous knowledges systems, rights of nature/legal personhood, conservation and sustainability.

Research Projects

Indigenous Environmental (In)Justice: theory and practice. As part of this research, Professor McGregor coordinated two Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ) Symposiums (May 2016 and November 2019).  She also coordinated 4 speaker series, delivered numerous presentations, and launched an IEJ website (

Conservation as Reconciliation: Supporting the transformation of conservation in Canada. 2019-2025. SSHRC Partnership Grant. The Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership is a seven-year initiative that aims to critically investigate the state of conservation practice in Canada and support efforts to advance Indigenous-led conservation in the spirit of reconciliation and decolonization. See for more information on this project.

Cultural keystone wildlife in a changing world: weaving together Indigenous Knowledge, cultural preservation, and conservation. 2018-2021. Frontiers in Research Fund.  This research explores how different knowledge systems can engage/interact to support key species of importance of Indigenous peoples. 

Aandse: Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and the Transformation of University-based Knowledge.  2018-2022. This research supports the Manitoulin Island Summer Historical Institute (MISHI) in partnership with the Ojibway Cultural Foundation, and is aimed at offering experimental learning opportunities in Anishinabek history. For more information on this project see

Sustainable Water Governance and Indigenous Law. 2016-2023. SSHRC Partnership Grant. (University of Saskatchewan). The goal of this project is to support Indigenous-led community-based water governance.  See for more information on this project.

Research Output

McGregor, D., Restoule, J.P., and Johnston, R. (eds.). 2018. Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices, and Relationships. Canadian Scholars Press. 475 pp.

Blaser, M., De Costa, R., McGregor, D., and Coleman, W. (eds.). 2010. Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC. 312 pp.

McGregor, D., Sritharan, M., and Whitaker, S. 2020. Indigenous Environmental Justice and Sustainability.  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 43:35–40.

Arsenault, R., Bourassa, C., Diver, S., McGregor, D., and Witham, A. 2019. Including Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Environmental Assessments: Restructuring the Process. Global Environmental Politics 19(3):120-132. DOI: 10.1162/glep_a_00519.

McGregor, D. 2018. Reconciliation and environmental justice. Journal of Global Ethics 14(2):222-231. DOI: 10.1080/17449626.2018.1507005.

McGregor, D. 2018. Indigenous Environmental Justice, Knowledge and Law. Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies 5(2). DOI: 10.15367/kf.v5i2.213.

McGregor. D. 2018. Mino-Mnaamodzawin: Achieving Indigenous Environmental Justice in Canada. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 9(2018): 7–24.  DOI:10.3167/ares.2018.090102.

Arsenault, R., Diver, S., McGregor, D., Witham, R., and Bourassa, C., 2018. Shifting the Framework of Canadian Water Governance Through Indigenous Research Methods: Acknowledging the Past with an Eye on the Future. Water 10(49). DOI:10.3390/w10010049.

McGregor, D. 2018. From ‘Decolonized’ to Reconciliation Research in Canada: Drawing from Indigenous Research Paradigms. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 17(3): 810-831.

Collins, L, McGregor, D., Allen, S., Murray, C., and Metcalfe, C. 2017Source Water Protection Planning for Ontario First Nations Communities: Case Studies Identifying Challenges and Outcomes. Water 9:550. DOI:10.3390/w9070550 (20%).

Reo, N., Whyte, K., McGregor, D., Smith, M.A., and Jenkins, J. 2017. Seven Principles for Indigenous Partnerships in Landscape-Scale Conservation. AlterNATIVE: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. DOI: 10.1177/11771801177001028.

Von der Porten, S., De Loe, R., and McGregor, D. 2016. Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge Systems into Collaborative Governance for Water: Challenges and Opportunities. Journal of Canadian Studies 50(1): 214-243.

Nowrouzi, B., McGregor, L., McDougall, A., Debassige, D., Casole, J., Nguyen, C., and McGregor, D. 2016. Ethics of Biological Sampling Research with Aboriginal Communities in Canada. Global Journal of Health Science 9(4): 20.

Von der Porten, S., Lepofsky, D., McGregor, D., and Silver, J. 2016. Recommendations for marine herring policy change in Canada: Aligning with Indigenous legal and inherent rights. Marine Policy 74: 68-76.

McGregor, D. 2015.  Indigenous Women, Water Justice and Zaagidowin (Love). Women and Water. Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme 30 (2/3):71-78.

Craft, A, McGregor, D., and Hewitt, J. 2020. COVID 19 and First Nations’ Responses. IN Colleen Flood, Vanessa MacDonnell, Jane Philpott, Sophie Theriault, and Sridhar Venkatapuram (eds.). Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID 19. University of Ottawa Press. Ottawa, ON. pp. 49-68.

McGregor, D. 2020. Indigenous Peoples and the Great Lakes in North America. IN Ganesh N. Devy (ed.). Environment and Belief Systems: Key Concepts in Indigenous Studies.  Routledge India. 214 pp.

McGregor, D. 2020. Indigenous Feminism Perspectives on Environmental Justice. IN Gül Çalişkan (ed.). Gendering Globalization, Globalizing Gender: Post-Colonial Perspectives, Oxford University Press. pp.113-125.

McGregor, D. 2019. All Our Relations: Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Issues in Canada. IN Gina Starblanket and David Long (eds.). Visions of the Heart: Issues Involving Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  Oxford University Press (5th edition). pp.182-202.

McGregor, D. 2019. Minobimaatisiiwin. IN Ashish Kothari, Ariel Salleh, Arturo Escobar, Federico Demaria and Alberto Acosta (eds.). Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary: From False Solutions to Radical Alternatives to Development. Tulika Books. New Delhi, India. pp. 240-243.

McGregor, D. 2019. Truth Be Told: Redefining Relationships Through Indigenous Research.  IN Karen Drake and Brenda Gunn (eds.). Redefining Relationships. Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Center, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK. Pp. 9-36.

McGregor, D. 2019. Reconciliation, Colonialism and Climate Change. IN Carolyn Tuohy, Sophie Borwien, Peter Loewen and Andrew Potter (eds.). Policy Transformation in Canada: Is the Past Prologue? University of Toronto Press. pp.139-147.

McGregor, D.  2018. Governing for Indigenous Environmental Justice in Canada. IN Nicole Gombay and Marcela Palomino-Schalscha (eds.). The Politics of Indigenous Spaces: Forging Indigenous Places in Intertwined Worlds. Taylor & Francis Books, Oxon, UK. pp.226-243.

McGregor, D. 2018. Indigenous land management. IN Deborah Poff and Alex Michalos (eds.). Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. Springer Nature. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1. pp.334-1.

McGregor, D. 2018. Indigenous Environmental Justice. IN Deborah Poff and Alex Michalos (eds.). Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. Springer Nature. pp. 339-1.

McGregor, D. 2018. Toward an Anishinabe Research Paradigm: Theory and Practice. IN Deborah McGregor, Jean-Paul Restoule and Rochelle Johnston (eds.). Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices, and Relationships. Canadian Scholars Press. pp. 243-56.

McGregor. D. 2018. Epilogue. Indigenous Research: Future Directions.  IN Deborah McGregor, Jean-Paul Restoule and Rochelle Johnston (eds.). Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices, and Relationships. Canadian Scholars Press. pp. 296-310.

Whyte, K., Reo, N., McGregor, D., Smith, P., Jenkins, J., and Rubio, K. 2018. Indigenous Principles for Successful Cooperation. IN Eric Freedman and Mark Neuzil (eds.). Biodiversity, Conservation and Environmental Management in the Great Lakes Basin. Routledge. pp. 182-194.

McGregor, D. 2017. Indigenous Environmental Justice: Exploring the Potential for a Canadian Framework. IN Karl Hele (ed.). Survivance and Reconciliation: 7 Forward/7 Back. 2015 Canadian Indigenous/Native Studies Association Conference Proceedings. Aboriginal Issues Press, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. pp. 41-60.

McGregor, D. 2016. Living Well with the Earth: Indigenous Rights and Environment. IN Connie Lennox and Damien Short (eds.). Handbook of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. pp. 167-180.

McGregor, D. 2015. All Our Relations: Aboriginal Perspectives on Environmental Issues in Canada. IN David Long and Olive Patricia Dickason (eds.). Visions of the Heart: Issues Involving Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. 4th Edition. Oxford University Press, Don Mills, ON.  pp. 22-50.

McGregor, D.  2020. Mother Earth. IN Planet Earth 2020: An insider’s guide to a rapidly changing planet. Philippe D. Tortell (ed.). Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK. DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0193: 133-139

McGregor, D. and McGregor, H. 2019. All Our Relations: Climate Change Storytellers. IN Catriona Sandilands (ed.). Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times. Caitlin Press, Halfmoon Bay, BC. pp.125-9. 

Comic/Graphic Novel Format

Edwards, R., Moewaka-Barnes, H., McGregor, D., Brannelly, T., and Hicks, O. 2019. Transforming Indigenous-non-Indigenous Research Partnerships. UK Research and Innovation, UK. 10 pp.

McGregor, D. 2019. In Pursuit of a Good Life: Indigenous Research Landscape in Canada.

Television Panel. The Agenda with Steve Paikin - “Wet’suwet’en: A Nation Divided”.  February 20, 2020. TV Ontario.

Radio Interview. Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild – “Indigenous Environmental Justice”. Earth Day Podcast Special. CBC Radio One. April 22, 2018.

Recognition & Awards

  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 2 Renewal) Indigenous Environmental Justice
  • York University Research Leader Award
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) Indigenous Environmental Justice
  • Recognition of Achievement, Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island
  • Outstanding Aboriginal Graduate, Great Minds Communication Program, University of Toronto