Focus of studies/research

I'm still fine-tuning my research project, but it's getting more and more precise. The working title as of now is: Reaffirming Inuit self-determination through the construction of sustainable food systems in Nunavik: a legal analysis of the implications for food security and sovereignty. My thesis is part of a global reflection on food systems, initiated by the United Nations Summit on Food Systems in 2021. This transition to sustainable food systems is crucial to achieving universal food security as well as food-related livelihood activities, land use and cultural, social and economic well-being. Meanwhile, in 2021, Canada's federal government passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Implementation Act. With a focus on Inuit self-determination, my thesis explores how the concepts of food security and food sovereignty come together to ensure equitable access to culturally appropriate food and to empower Inuit in Nunavik to shape their food systems. In the face of unprecedented environmental and climatic threats resulting from human activities, with global food production as one of the main causes of these changes, this research is set in a context of environmental urgency and reconciliation. It aims to examine how traditional Inuit food practices can contribute to sustainable food systems, while responding to contemporary challenges. Recognizing the expertise of indigenous peoples in sustainable food systems debates, this thesis seeks to fulfill the right to food. In alignment with FAO definitions, this research explores “sustainable food systems as those that ensure food security and nutrition for all, without compromising the economic, social and environmental foundations necessary to guarantee food security for future generations”. Finally, my thesis highlights the importance of recognizing indigenous peoples in national and international legislative frameworks to guarantee their access to basic public services and to preserve their ancestral food systems in the face of the challenges of modernity.

Where do you study / work ? What is you area of interest

I study at University Laval in Québec City, Canada. I started my Ph.D in Law in January 2023 under the supervision of Geneviève Parent (University Laval) and Sophie Thériault (University of Ottawa).

I am also a Legal analyst at the First Nations Quebec Labrador sustainable development institute and a lecturer at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). I also have the chance of being a research assistant at the Research Chair in Food Diversity and Safety Law (DDSA Chair) at University Laval. I hold a Master in Environmental Law, Sustainable Development and Food security (LL.M) from University Laval as well. Thus, my areas of interests reside at the intersection of food security, food systems and food sovereignty and Indigenous law.

What was the goal of your trip ? Why did you wish to join this particular event, and why is it important to you ?

There are a lot of opportunities during a Ph.D and a lot of conferences one can attend. I really try my best to choose wisely where I put my energy and time. I do not think I could have chosen better for a first international conference than to go to the Arctic Congress. I was really looking forward to attending this congress and hearing different perspectives from scholars from all over the world. Hearing about projects and issues in the different Arctic regions enabled me to compare situations with my area of focus (Inuit Nunangat) and other places like Norway, Greenland, Finland, etc. The richness of the programme really amazed me, it was often hard to choose which session to attend. I chose to try to focus mainly on sessions related to my topic of research. I quickly realized that many regions of the Arctic face similar challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, indigenous rights and socio-economic issues.

When I registered for the Congress, my first goal was to hear about other research methodologies as this is an important stage where I’m at right now in constructing my thesis project. In the same way, I was curious about the place of law in research projects and if there were any law perspectives that would be presented. After a research stay in Nunavik, I was wondering at some point the role of law that can be considered by many as a colonialist tool in my research. The Congress allowed me to validate my approach. Especially after hearing of a concrete project in Inuit Nunangat success by implementing policy and legislation for geese harvesting and commercialization.

Further than the content presented I was also amazed by the numerous scholars presenting fascinating projects, the three days were filled with passion and dedication, I can thus say that perseverance and hard work is contagious. Another valuable takeaway for me is observing the various styles of presentation and the confidence exhibited by the speakers. Witnessing their poise and effectiveness in communicating their research has inspired me to enhance my own presentation skills and confidence. Overall, the experience has been incredibly enriching, leaving me motivated and eager to apply what I have learned. I can affirm that it really exceeded my expectations.

What difference did this grant make for you? What did you accomplish as a result of joining the event? How will the experience help you forward in your studies / career

This grant made a huge difference for me. I did not receive any governmental grants this year which was very hard, even though fellow students told me it’s really rare to receive CRSH and FRQ grants the first year of your Ph.D and with hindsight I realize that I applied after only one semester into my Ph.D, it still feels like a failure when you receive the news. Learning that I received the grant from Uarctic then really motivated me.

One key takeaway that will significantly impact my research is the scarcity of legal perspectives on my topic. This reinforces the importance of its social and scientific relevance, which motivates me to move forward. Besides, I quickly realized I was a young scholar and the Congress was attended by very successful Ph.D holders, professors and experts on their topics. My notes are filled with researchers names that I want to read more of their work. This benefited my motivation for a career in research and put into perspective the fact that all these people started out somewhere. Doing a Ph.D for me is a big act of perseverance, and being in Bodo really was a boost of motivation for the next steps of my journey.

In the end, I am convinced that being exposed to such a diverse array of backgrounds and viewpoints will profoundly enhance my development as a scholar. Engaging with a variety of perspectives encourages me to critically analyze information, question established facts, and strive to understand all sides of an issue. This Congress will broaden my intellectual horizon but also foster a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the complex challenges facing the Arctic regions. By embracing this diversity of thought, I am better equipped to contribute meaningfully to academic discourse and to develop well-rounded innovative (as far as possible in the legal field) solutions to the problems we face.

When seeing the multitude of experts that were attending the congress, I realized how lucky I was to get to speak to them for 15 minutes and step out of my comfort zone to present pieces of my research. Such presentations always translate into growing experiences, but I will for sure remember my first international conference presentation.