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Lynn Gehl - Independent. Peterborough, ON, CA

Lynn Gehl

Indigenous/Indigenist Cultural Critic, Writer, Author | Independent

Peterborough, ON, CANADA

Indigenist Cultural Critic






Canadian Museum of Human Rights re Lynn Gehl Part 1 of 4 Canadian Museum of Human Rights re Lynn Gehl Part 2 of 4 Canadian Museum of Human Rights re Lynn Gehl Part 3 of 4 Canadian Museum of Human Rights re Lynn Gehl Part 4 of 4




Lynn is an author, advocate, artist, and public speaker. Her work encompasses both anti-colonial work and the celebration of Indigenous knowledge. She challenges Canada’s practices, policies, and laws of colonial genocide such as the land claims and self-government process, sex-discrimination in the Indian Act, the continued destruction of Akikpautik / Chaudière Falls–an Anishinaabeg sacred place, and Canada’s lack of policy addressing Indigenous women and girls with disabilities who are bigger targets of sexual violence. She weaves wampum belts, builds petro-forms, and paints. She also has several professionally published peer reviewed books: “Gehl v Canada: Challenging Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act” (2021), “Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit” (2017), “The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin on the Algonquin Land Claims Process” (2014), and “Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts” (2012). She has several academic contributions in journals and chapters in books; more than one-hundred community contributions in magazines, websites, news papers, and op-eds; as well as two-hundred personal blogs. Lynn is frequently called upon as an expert by various media outlets to offer commentary on Indigenous issues.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Sex-Discrimination in the Indian Act

Treaty and Land Claims Process

Indigenous Knowledge

Algonquin Anishinaabeg

Indigenous Identity

Indigenous Affairs

Accomplishments (1)

The Gehl Report (professional)


Indigenous women and girls with disabilities are bigger targets of sexual violence.

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

Languages (1)

  • English

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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Lynn Gehl, of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, honoured by Governor General

My Barrys Bay Now  online


A member of the Pikwàkanagàn First Nation is being honoured by Canada’s Governor General. But true to her fighting spirit, Lynn Gehl doesn’t plan on sitting back after accepting the award. She plans to continue raising awareness of Indigenous issues, as she doesn’t feel reconciliation has been achieved. ...

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Articles (8)

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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Gehl v Canada: Challenging Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act

University of Regina Press

Lynn Gehl


A follow-up to Claiming Anishinaabe, Gehl v Canada is the story of Lynn Gehl’s lifelong journey of survival against the nation-state’s constant genocidal assault against her existence. While Canada set up its colonial powers—including the Supreme Court, House of Commons, Senate Chamber, and the Residences of the Prime Minister and Governor General—on her traditional Algonquin territory, usurping the riches and resources of the land, she was pushed to the margins, exiled to a life of poverty in Toronto’s inner-city. With only beads in her pocket, Gehl spent her entire life fighting back, and now offers an insider analysis of Indian Act litigation, the narrow remedies the court imposes, and of obfuscating parliamentary discourse, as well as an important critique of the methodology of legal positivism. Drawing on social identity and Indigenous theories, the author presents Disenfranchised Spirit Theory, revealing insights into the identity struggles facing Indigenous Peoples to this day. REVIEWS "Gehl’s book provides readers with important insights into the personal struggles faced by Indigenous women who challenge colonialism in Canada." —Herizons “Congratulations . . . to Dr. Lynn Gehl for her successful challenge of the Indian Registrar’s refusal to allow her to be registered under the Indian Act. . . . Good win, Lynn!” —The Honourable Murray Sinclair “With knowledge and experience from years of advocacy before Parliament as well as the courts, and the depth of perception typical of all her scholarly work, Dr. Gehl assesses what more is needed before the Indian Act system can be truly egalitarian. Her book is unique and inspiring.” —Mary Eberts, from the foreword “[R]emarkable . . . a monument in Indigenous struggles with the colonial Crown.” —Veldon Coburn, Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at University of Ottawa

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Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit

University of Regina Press

Lynn Gehl


Exploring Anishinaabeg philosophy and Anishinaabeg conceptions of truth, Gehl shows how she came to locate her spirit and decolonize her identity, thereby becoming, in her words, "fully human. " Gehl also provides a harsh critique of Canada and takes on important anti-colonial battles, including sex discrimination in the Indian Act and the destruction of sacred places. "Gehl is at the cutting edge with her concepts and ideas. .. She is on a journey and documents it well. " - Lorelei Anne Lambert, author of Research for Indigenous Survival "[C]lear, insightful, and desperately needed. .." - Lorraine F. Mayer, author of Cries from a Métis Heart "[T]he discussion of the heart and mind knowledge, as well as the discussion on the Anishinaabeg Clan System of Governance, [are] major contributions to the research. " - Marlyn Bennett, co-editor of Pushing the Margins

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