the state and indigenous legal cultures: law in search of legitimacy

Jean Leclair

Jean Leclair
Jean Leclair was born in Montréal in 1963. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Université de Montréal in 1985, he worked as legal secretary for the honourable Alice Desjardins, judge of the Federal Appeals Court of Canada. Recipient of the Duff Rinfret Scholarship, he subsequently furthered his studies (LL.M.) under the direction of Professor André Morel. In 1991, he was appointed a professor of constitutional law and legal history at Université de Montréal. He founded a course entitled “Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law” in 1999. Professor Leclair was one of four Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation fellows in 2013. This charitable national organization, which is independent and has no political affiliation, “recognizes fellows who have set themselves apart through their research achievements, their creativity, and their social commitment” on an annual basis. His interest in federalism has inter alia led him to author several works on environmental management in the federal Canadian framework and on the constitutional foundations of Canadian bijuralism. Jean Leclair has devoted more than a decade to studying the (re)configuration of political relationships between Indigenous peoples and governments and within Indigenous communities themselves. His chosen field of research focuses on the structural effects of law in the unfolding of these relationships. He also contemplates epistemological issues raised by the interaction of law and other social sciences. Professor Leclair seeks to formulate a theory of federalism that would satisfy Indigenous political communities’ quest for self-determination without demanding that the members of such communities adhere to a monistic conception of identity. Jean Leclair is also passionate about Argentine tango and is co-founder of the theatre group, Les Veilleurs de Nuit.


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