With an astute wisdom backed by extensive traditional teachings and legal expertise, James (Sakej) Youngblood Henderson is determined to see that Indigenous ways of life are suitably represented in society.
He earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence at the world-class Harvard Law School. His work reflects his belief that Indigenous peoples need to find and rightfully take their place in all institutions to ensure their voices, aspirations, and wisdom are heard. He has placed these perspectives in his 8 books, 24 book chapters, 27 articles in refereed journals, 42 papers and abstracts in conference proceedings and 34 technical reports.
During the constitutional process (1978-1993) in Canada, he served as a constitutional advisor for the Míkmaw nation and the NIB-Assembly of First Nations that affirmed Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. He has been involved in the development of these constitutional rights in courts, legislative, and policy frameworks.
In addition, he was a key theorist and part of the drafting team on the Indigenous Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous Declaration on the Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous Peoples. He has been an Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a member of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO, the International Commission of Jurists, and the UN Commission on Human Rights.
His work has not gone unnoticed. The 1974 winner of the Charles Warren Civil Rights Award from the Harvard Law School, the 1999 Harvard University Alumni Achievement Award, Native American Academy, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel 2005.
Mr. Henderson has taught at the most prestigious universities in North America. Under his direction the Native Law Centre of Canada at the University of Saskatchewan was established and quickly became a world-renowned legal research and legal studies centre.