Erin Hanson

Research Key Words

Coast Salish law and jurisdiction; Aboriginal rights and title; Indigenous-settler relations, settler-colonialism;  legal anthropology; rights and recognition; decolonization; natural resource development; Indigenous law;


Using qualitative and ethnographic research, my research focuses on settler-colonialism, the Crown consultation process, and Coast Salish law and jurisdiction over territory.

My research explores the impacts and implications of Crown-First Nations consultation processes on Coast Salish territorial and governance responsibilities. Crown governments have a legal duty to consult Indigenous groups on decisions that may impact their Constitutionally-protected rights and title; consultation therefore presents a day-to-day process whereby First Nations and the Crown negotiate the extent of a First Nation’s rights and title, amid discussions of laws and legitimacy, land use, and future land use planning.

My research is grounded in theories recognition politics and political economy to consider the contradictions between the formal rhetoric of consultation’s stated purpose of reconciliation, on the one hand, and the resulting action of dispossession of territory and resources on the other (Coulthard 2014, Miller 2011, Povinelli 2002). My research considers jurisdiction, expressions of law (Canadian and Coast Salish), power structures at play during the consultation process, narratives that inform each side, and how Coast Salish First Nations assert their own laws, jurisdiction and decision-making authority to uphold their responsibilities despite settler-colonial forces and constraints.

BA Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 2008

UBC Supervisor: Bruce Miller

Indigenous Foundations, 2011. First Nations Studies Program, University of British Columbia.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council , 2016