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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

Special Issue Editor (with Professor Aimee Craft).  Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches. Water Journal. 2021.

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.


Latulippe, N. and McGregor, D.  Forthcoming April 2022. Community led research: Towards An Anishinabek Water Protection Framework in First Nation Water Governance. With Nicole Latulippe.  International Indigenous Policy Journal

A.K. Menzies, E. Bowles, M. Gallant, H. Patterson, C. Kozmik, S. Chiblow , D. McGregor, A. Ford, J.N. Popp. Forthcoming April 2022.  I see my culture starting to disappear”: Anishinaabe perspectives on the socioecological impacts of climate change and future research needs.  FACETS.

Reed, G., Brunet, D., McGregor, D., Scurr, C., Sadik, T., Lavigne, J., Longboat, S., 2022. Toward Indigenous visions of nature-based solutions: an exploration into Canadian federal climate policy, Climate Policy, DOI:10.1080/14693062.2022.2047585

Deranger, E, Sinclair, R, Gray, B, McGregor, D, Gobby, J. 2022. Decolonizing Climate Research and Policy: Making space to tell our own stories, in our own ways in Community Development Journal.  Special Issue: Environmental Community Development in the Climate Emergency. Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal 2022.

McGregor, D.. 2021. “Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Environmental Governance in Canada.” KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 5 (1).

Littlechild D. B, Finegan C, and McGregor D. 2021. “Reconciliation” in undergraduate education in Canada: the application of Indigenous knowledge in Conservation. FACETS 6: 665–685. doi:10.1139/facets-2020-0076

Henri, D.A., Provencher, J.F., Bowles, E., Taylor, J.T., Steel, J., Chelick, C., Popp, J.N., Cooke, S.J., Rytwinski, T., McGregor, D., Ford, A.T., Alexander, S.M. 2021. Weaving Indigenous knowledge systems and Western sciences in terrestrial research, monitoring and management in Canada: A protocol for a systematic map. Ecological Solutions and Evidence 2:e12057.

Edwards, R., Barnes, H. M., McGregor, D., & Brannelly, T. 2020. Supporting Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Research Partnerships. The Qualitative Report, 25(13), 6-15. Retrieved from

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.

Book Chapters

McGregor, D, Emma Nelson. Forthcoming April 2022.  Reconciling Relationships with the Land through Land Acknowledgments. In Sacred Civics: awakening seven-generation cities. Routledge. (eds). Ayne Engle, Julian Agyeman & Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook.

McGregor, D. and Sritharan, M. Forthcoming April 2022.  Decolonizing the Dialogue on Climate Change: Indigenous Knowledges, legal orders and Ethics.  Eds,  S. Lamalle and P. Stoett (eds), Representations and Rights of the Environment, Cambridge University Press.

McGregor, D. Forthcoming 2022.  Indigenous Sustainable Development: Shaping Our Future. Ed.  Brinkman, R. The Palgrave Handbook of Global Sustainability. Springer Nature.

McGregor, D., Little Child, D.  & Sritharan, M. Forthcoming 2022. The Role of Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Planetary Well Being.  In A Critical Handbook on Indigenous Development. Eds Nancy Postero, Irma Alicia Velasquez Nimatuj, Katherina Ruckstuhl, and John Andrew McNeish. Routledge. 

Craft, A, McGregor, D. Seymour-Hourie, R, Chiblow, S. 2021. Decolonizing Anishiinabe nibi inaakonigewin and gikendaasowin research. (eds) Sujith Xavier, Beverley Jacobs, Valarie Waboose, Jeffery G. Hewitt & Amar Bhatia.  Decolonizing Law: Indigenous, Third World and Settler Perspectives. Routledge. New York, NY. 17-33

McGregor, D., Latulippe, N., Sritharan, M.  2021. Environmental Justice and Indigeneity. In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press,

McGregor, D. 2021. Indigenous Environmental Justice and Sustainability. (eds) Sumudu Atapattu, Carmen Gonzalez, Sara Seck. (eds) The Cambridge Handbook on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. Cambridge University Press., Cambridge. UK. P 58-68

McGregor. D. 2021. Indigenous Environmental Justice: Toward a Sustainable Future.  Eds. Hokowhitu, B., Moreton-Robinson, M., Smith, L., Larkin, S., Anderson, C., The Routledge Handbook of Critical Indigenous Studies. 405-419. 

McGregor, D. 2020. First Nations, Traditional Knowledge and Water Ethics. (Eds) Ingrid Stefanovic, and Adeel Zafar.  Ethical Water Stewardship, Water Security in a New World. Ed: Ingrid Stefanovic. Springer Nature Switzerland: 147-63.

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.

Other Written Works

Harper, S. L., Schnitter, R., Fazil, A., Fleury, M., Ford, J., King, N., Lesnikowski, A., McGregor, D., Paterson, J., Smith, B., & Neufeld, H. T. 2022. Food Security and Food Safety. In P. Berry & R. Schnitter (Eds.), Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada.

Non Peer Reviewed Publications Desrosier, C., Hackett, F., McGregor, D, Buse, C, Howard, C, Chisholm, A, Carter, A. 2021. The Lancet Countdown on Climate Change and Health. Lancet Countdown and the Canadian Medical Association and Canadian Public Health Association.

An Indigenous peoples’ approach to climate justice. CarbonBrief. Clear on Climate.  Guest post. Carbon Brief Ltd © 2021 Released October 8th, 2021.

Desrosier, C., Hackett, F., McGregor, D., Banasiak, K.  2020. The Lancet Countdown on Climate Change and Health. Lancet Countdown and the Canadian Medical Association.

Reid, AJ, Popp, JN, McGregor, D, Miller, J, and Marshall, A. 2020. 20 Essential Reads to Enable Two-Eyed Seeing in Aquatic Research and Management. International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) Lakes Letter.

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.

Select Keynote Addresses

Indigenous climate leadership in Canada: a discussion on reconciliation, Indigenous justice, and nature based solutions. EXALT Conference 2021:  Concurrent Crises and Sustainable Futures: Global Extractivisms and Alternatives.  University of Helsinki.  Helsinki, Finland. Virtual. October 27, 2021.

Climate Action in Canada: A discussion on reconciliation, Indigenous justice, and nature based solutions. 2021 Sustainable Communities Conference.  Federation of Canadian Muncipalities. Ottawa, ON. Virtual. October 19, 2021.

Storytelling, Climate Justice and Self-Determined Futures. Relational Futures: A Symposium for Indigenous Land, Water, and Environment &  2021 D’Arcy McNickle Distinguished Lecture. D’Arcy McNickle for American Indian and Indigenous studies. Newberry Library. Chicago, IL. Virtual. October 7th, 2021.

Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Water and Justice. Sustainable Oceans Conference. Seeing Beyond the Shoreine. Sobey Fund for Oceans. Dalhousie University. Halifax, NS. Viritual. September 23rd, 2021.

Indigenous Climate Justice, colonialism and self determined futures.  GW4 ERC Climate Symposium: Climate change: Solutions and how to communicate them.  University of Exeter, UK. Virtual. June 22nd, 2021.

Indigenous Economies: Spirit in the Land. Indigenous Economies: Reclaiming the Sacred.  Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) and Canadian Society of Ecological Economics (CANSEE).  Virtual. June 11, 2021.


Podcast. Indigenous Health & Climate Change McGill Journal of Law and Health. Feb 8, 2022.

Podcast. In Our Element- With Linda France. New Writing North, UK. Espisode 2 (Earth): (October 15th) AND Episode 9 (Consciouness). (November 9th)

Podcast.  Back to the Land. Reviving Indigenous languages could help tackle climate crisis. The Current. CBC Radio  September 12, 2021.

Podcast. What on Earth. CBC Radio.  The slow-creeping disaster of drought.  July 16, 2021.

Podcast. With Jayce Chiblow.“Reframing the question of building bridges between indigenous knowledge systems and science” . Raccords. Maison de l'innovation sociale (MIS)., February 12, 2021.

Podcast.  Indigenous Spiritual Ecologies.   In “This Climate Conversations”.  Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and The Media School. Indiana University’s In This Climate podcast. December 2020. :

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

Media Presentations

Interview (video/virtual). Truth and Reconciliation, Residential Schools and Canada Day.  Media Focus. Fairchild Television, Richmond, ON.  July 19, 2021. For television program “Atrocity on Indigenous Peoples”

Live Radio show:  Grieving Ecological Loss.  Native America Calling.   Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Anchorage, Alaska. April 22nd, 2021.

Featured in On-Line article.  How to Include Indigenous Researchers and Their Knowledge.  Nature.| Vol 589 (14), January 2021, p. 315-317.

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