Peter A Allard School of Law

Johnny Mack

Assistant Professor
Co-Academic Director, Indigenous Legal Studies
LL.B., LL.M. (UVic)


Professor Johnny Mack is from the Toquaht Nation (Nuu-chah-nulth) and is Assistant Professor at UBC Allard School of Law. From 2014-2018 he was jointly appointed across First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Allard Law at UBC. His research investigates the legal relationship between Indigenous and settler peoples in contemporary settler states, particularly Canada, as well as Indigenous constitutionalism, subjectivity, critical theory, and legal pluralism.

Professor Mack’s graduate research earned a CGS scholarship from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and he is an alumnus of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, where he was a 2011 Trudeau Scholar. He has been co-investigator on numerous SSHRC grants, including two Partnership Development Grants and one Partnership Grant supporting collaborative anti-colonial research. He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Truth and Reconciliation. Professor Mack sits on the editorial board of Indigenous Peoples and the Law book series for Routledge Press, led by Claire Charters, Glen Coulthard, Denise Ferreira da Silva, and Mark Harris.

An impassioned advocate for Indigenous peoples on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Professor Mack’s involvement has been both formal, as a policy analyst for Aboriginal organizations, and informal, as a community activist working to create constructive critical dialogue on the subject of contemporary Treaty negotiations. He is the recipient of the Courage in Law Award from the Indigenous Law Students’ Association. In 2022, he received the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and the UBC Killam Teaching Prize.

Professor Mack is grateful for the opportunity to reside and work on the ancestral, traditional and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.


  • Canadian Constitutional Law (Federalism and Aboriginal)
  • Indigenous Law and the Settler state
  • Introduction to Indigenous Legal Traditions (FNIS)

358D.001 An Introduction to Indigenous Legal Orders within the Settler State
This course applies to the Specialization in Aboriginal Law.

This course is about Indigenous peoples' own laws. It assesses the relationship between indigenous and settler state legal orders. It examines how Indigenous peoples make their own laws to govern their relationships and resolve disputes. It shows how they draw from their storied histories to adjust to new social and material relationships. At the same time Indigenous legal orders constantly confront colonialism. Colonization violently brought a radically new social world. This world severely disoriented many indigenous communities. It impaired the adaptive capacities of many indigenous legal orders. This course focuses on the contemporary project of regenerating indigenous legal orders within the settler state. Themes of the course will likely include a theoretical introduction to non-state legal orders; identifying the pitfalls and opportunities associated with advancing this regenerative project within and through an Aboriginal Rights recognition framework; a historical overview of the relationship between colonial law (and later settler state law) and indigenous law, focusing on the experience in BC; and a critical analysis of the methods which legal researchers rely on to understand indigenous law today. Materials will focus on the Canadian context, but will also draw on literature addressing other contexts such as the USA, New Zealand and Australia.



Multiculturalism, Colonisation and Racialisation: Conceptual Starting Points” Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 33:4 (2011), 285-305.

“Hoquotist: Reorienting Through Storied Practice” in Lessard, Johnson, Webber eds., Storied Communities: Narratives of Contact and Arrival in the Constitution of Political Community, (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010) 286-307.

Johnny Mack

Organization Affiliations

  • Centre for Business Law
  • Indigenous Legal Studies

Research Interests

  • Aboriginal and Indigenous law
  • Public and constitutional law

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