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Lynn Gehl - Independent. Peterborough, ON, CA

Lynn Gehl Lynn Gehl

Indigenous/Indigenist Cultural Critic, Writer, Author | Independent

Peterborough, ON, CANADA

Indigenist Cultural Critic






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Lynn Gehl, Ph.D., is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley, Ontario, Canada. She has been an Indigenous human rights advocate for over 30 years. She has a doctorate in Indigenous Studies, a Master of Arts in Canadian and Native Studies, an undergraduate degree in Anthropology (summa cum laude) and a diploma in Chemical Technology. Lynn worked in the field of environmental science for 12 years in the area of toxic organic analysis of Ontario’s waterways.

Lynn is an advocate, artist, and writer and is an outspoken critic of colonial law and policies that harm Indigenous women, men, children, and the land. She has over 100 publications in venues such as Anishinabek News, rabble, Ricochet, The Feminist Wire, Muskrat Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, NOW, and Canadian Dimension. She also has over 100 published blogs on her website, and she has also blogged for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Active History, and Blogging for Equality.

Lynn has several academic journal publications with Canadian Woman Studies, AlterNative, First Peoples Child & Family Review, and the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.

Lynn’s first book, based on her SSHRC funded doctoral dissertation, is titled The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin on the Algonquin Land Claims Process, published by Fernwood, is available at her website:

Committed to serving community members Lynn also has two larger print books titled: Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Peterographs, and Wampum Belts; and Mkadengwe: Sharing Canada’s Colonial Process through Black Face Methodology. People interested in these works can find links on her website at

For over thirty years Lynn has been working on a section 15 Charter challenge, represented by Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and The Law Office of Mary Eberts, regarding the continued sex-discrimination in the Indian Act on the matter of unknown and unstated paternity.

In October of 2012, Lynn collaborated with The Canadian Museum of Human Rights where her oral history, advocating and seeking change for Indigenous women and their children, was recorded.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Sex-Discrimination in the Indian Act

Treaty and Land Claims Process

Indigenous Knowledge

Algonquin Anishinaabeg

Indigenous Identity

Indigenous Affairs

Education (1)

Trent University: Doctoral of Philosophy, Indigenous Studies 2010

2010 Doctor of Philosophy, Indigenous Studies 2005 Master of Arts, Canadian Studies and Native Studies 2002 Bachelor of Arts with Honours (summa cum laude), York University, Anthropology 1984 Diploma, Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, Chemical Technology

Media Appearances (8)

Condominium development threatens protection of Algonquin sacred site

rabble  online


The fight to protect the sacred Chaudière Falls from a condominium development is gaining momentum following a massive sacred walk on Friday, June 17. The sacred walk, which was initiated by Algonquin Elders from Pikwàkanagàn, brought out approximately 500 people on the Friday afternoon.

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Sacred Walk to save a Sacred Site

Anishinabek News  online


OTTAWA—Anishinaabe/Algonquin Elders were joined by 600 supporters, including Christian groups, Muslim families, academics, labour unions, historians, and environmentalists to “walk in solidarity” to Parliament Hill on June 17.

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Prayer ribbons removed by Public Works keep coming back

Metro Ottawa  online


On the preservation of an Indigenous sacred site.

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JOURNEY Magazine  online


Algonquin Grandmothers and Elders of the Ottawa River region, and numerous other groups, have been fighting for some time to ensure an ancient Indigenous sacred site of peaceful waterfalls and islands behind Parliament Hill will be there for generations to come – and not be destroyed by a proposed 1,200 condos, office towers and 300,000 feet of commercial and retail space.

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London chapter organizes talk on Wampum diplomacy and constitutional rights

Council of Canadians London Chapter  online


Gehl notes, "What many people do not know is that the Royal Proclamation was ratified during the 1764 Treaty at Niagara. ...To guarantee the successful ratification of the Royal Proclamation, to ensure a clear understanding as well as to codify the historic event at Niagara, William Johnson [British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies] relied on Indigenous practices of wampum diplomacy and its inherent forms of symbolic literacy."

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Trudeau's promises to Indigenous people and the climate mean game over for pipelines

rabble  online


Climate change and pipelines.

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Idle No More: Women Leading Action for Indigenous Rights in Canada

Thomson Reuters Foundation  online


Idle No More

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Red Tape

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network: APTN Investigates  tv


Indigenous Identity and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

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Articles (6)

Deeply flawed process around Algonquin land claim agreement

Policy Options


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett both need to sit down and think hard about what reconciliation and nation-to-nation means, following the recent signing of an agreement in principle (AIP) on a major land claim. Bennett called the signing of the Algonquin AIP “a momentous milestone and a significant step forward on renewing Canada’s relationship with the Algonquins of Ontario.” Was it? And further, a person has to wonder, as I do, why Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee thinks this is an occasion worthy of congratulations? The agreement would offer the Algonquins of Ontario 1.3 percent of their land base in eastern Ontario, or 36,000 square kilometres, as part of what’s been termed a “modern treaty.” The Algonquins never ceded their land, which includes the area where Parliament Hill now sits.

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Attawapiskat crisis about human dignity, not geographic isolation

Policy Options


When I read what former prime minister Jean Chrétien had said about the crisis in Attawapiskat, and the notion that residents should consider moving away, I was floored. Others have also made this case recently in the media. I have been shocked by the ignorance, and so I am compelled to write a response as an unwaged Indigenous advocate. It comes down to well-paid politicians and parliamentarians tied to an economic paradigm that lacks a moral code and ultimately serves no one.

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Canada’s Indian Policy is a Process of Deception



When I think about the reasons Indigenous people live in Third World conditions in a First World country and wrestle with how best to explain what I have come to know to the average Canadian, I draw on first-hand knowledge of the history of Indian status registration and entitlement provisions within the Indian Act, as well as Indigenous women’s attempts to eliminate sex discrimination resulting from the act. My own section 15 charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in the Indian Act was recently heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. I also draw on first-hand knowledge from the current Algonquin land claims and self-government process and the many Indigenous attempts to have our jurisdiction respected. Many Canadians don’t understand the difference between a treaty process and the land claims process.

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The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin on the Algonquin Land Claims Process



Based on my life as an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe, and my doctoral work, this book offers something for everyone: an analysis of Algonquin contact history, a first ever insider analysis of the land claims process, an examination of Algonquin agency, and an analysis of the continuing colonial project. It does this through valuing traditional ways of knowing and being such as wampum diplomacy, as well as valuing the role of both the heart and mind as repositories, and creators, of knowledge.

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Persons Day: The Indigenous Famous Five Contingent

Canadian Dimension


While many Canadians are aware of the Famous Five and their efforts, many are not aware of the long-time efforts of the Indigenous Famous Five: Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, Yvonne Bedard, Sandra Lovelace, and Sharon Donna McIvor (see poster above). The Indigenous Famous Five, as I have opted to call them, have been working for decades to eliminate the sex discrimination that Indigenous women and First Nations have had to, and continue to have to, endure at the hands of Canada’s racist and sexist oppressive colonial laws that determine who is, and who is not, an Indian as defined by the Indian Act and as such who is, or better said who is not, entitled to their treaty rights as established in 1764 during the Treaty at Niagara where the 1763 Royal Proclamation was ratified.

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Canada's unstated paternity policy amounts to genocide against Indigenous children



Canada commits genocide of 25,000 Indigenous children through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) unstated paternity practice, yet relies on language -- unstated paternity -- that blames their mothers. In 1943, Raphael Lemkin first coined the term "genocide" and proceeded to define the term. Interestingly, what many people do not know is that Lemkin defined genocide in cultural terms rather than in terms of killing and mass murder. More specifically, Lemkin defined genocide as having two stages. The first involves the denial of an oppressed group's national pattern; and the second stage involves the imposition of the oppressor's national pattern.

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