Dec. 4, 2020

UCalgary Political Science and International Indigenous Studies Program Congratulates: Noémie Foley!

2019-20 Best Paper in International Indigenous Studies
Noémie Foley
Noémie Foley

The award is for the best student paper that advances understanding, awareness of and respect for Indigenous knowledges, realities, perspectives, experiences, and cultures from around the world. Open to all students in a 400 or 500-level course in International Indigenous Studies (outstanding work at other levels may be considered).


Noémie Foley’s paper was written for INDG 407 Comparative International Indigenous Communities and nominated by Dr. Roberta Rice.


Dr. Roberta Rice, tell us a bit about the course was written for and what made Noémie Foley’s paper stand out to you?

Noémie’s paper was written for my Fall 2019 INDG 407 Comparative International Indigenous Communities course. This course introduces students to the major tensions, dilemmas, and debates in Indigenous-state relations in Canada and Latin America. Students conduct in-depth research on an aspect of Indigenous-state relations in Canada and/or Latin America and write a term paper on the results. Noémie’s paper on the struggle of the Haida Nation for greater autonomy from the state examined the various strategies and tactics for change, both institutional and extra-institutional, that are explored in the course. Her paper stood out for its research effort and nuanced analysis.

Noémie Foley

Noémie Foley, what was the title of the paper and can you give us a brief description of its main findings or arguments?

My paper is titled “Interwoven and Intentional Indigenous Strategies of Resistance in Haida Gwaii.” In this paper I explored the many ways in which the Haida Nation asserted their rights and belonging to their territories when faced with unsustainable clear-cut logging practices from logging companies, from the late-1900s to now.

The essay first provides historical and geographical context on the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, and then describes how the Haida created cultural, legal, social and political mechanisms to resist the exploitation of their lands and shape an environmental movement in a way that allowed non-Haida residents and the national and international communities to support Haida rights to their hereditary lands. The movement led to the protection of the entire bottom third of Haida Gwaii, known as Gwaii Haanas, and to the Haida Nation having equal participation in decision-making practices regarding the management and protection of sacred sites and environmentally sensitive areas.

What are you doing now?

I am now living on the traditional territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ Peoples, also known as Victoria. Up until this July, I was working for an Indigenous NGO called the IISAAK OLAM Foundation, which empowers Indigenous-led conservation in Canada through the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). I spent the rest of my summer studying for the LSAT, which I wrote in October. I am hoping to be accepted into the Indigenous Law program at the University of Victoria.


Congratulations to Noémie Foley on the 2019–20 Best Paper in International Indigenous Studies!


To find out more about the paper prizes and past prize winners, see: Political Science Department Scholarships and Awards