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Dr. Kelsey Leonard (Shinnecock) is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, where her research focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings. Dr. Leonard seeks to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policymaking.

Dr. Leonard has been instrumental in safeguarding the interests of Indigenous Nations for environmental planning and builds Indigenous science and knowledge into new solutions for water governance and sustainable oceans. In collaboration with a global team of water law scholars Dr. Leonard has published in Lewis and Clark Law Review on Indigenous Water Justice and the defining international legal principle of self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Her recent scholarship explores legal personhood for water and you can watch her TEDTalk here: TEDTalk “Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans”


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