Dr. Blackburn is an anthropologist interested in the evolving dimensions of Indigenous rights in Canada and internationally. Dr. Blackburn earned her PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University and has prior experience as a Research Associate for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Her work lies at the intersection of a number of disciplinary trajectories, including but not limited to socio-legal studies, Indigenous studies and transitional justice.
Dr. Blackburn is currently finishing a book on the negotiation of British Columbia’s first modern treaty. Entitled Uncertain Futures: Aboriginal Rights and Treaty Making in Canada, this work is an examination of the legal, political and cultural consequences of a treaty made between the Nisga’a First Nation, Canada and British Columbia. Dr. Blackburn is particularly concerned with if and how treaty making in Canada can be a mechanism of reconciliation. Presently it is not. While the recent report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools identifies the treaty relationship as key to meaningful reconciliation, this book explores the challenges faced by First Nations whose ideas about how and why a treaty can reconcile their relationship with the state are quite different from those reflected in government policy.