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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Rachel Ariss

Associate Professor

Legal Studies

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

Bordessa Hall - Room 504
Downtown Oshawa
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON

905.721.8668 ext. 5866

Office hours:
By appointment.


Dr. Rachel Ariss focuses on the relationships between law, social justice and change, and how law shapes (and misshapes) community in research and teaching. Her research projects include Aboriginal land rights, the duty to consult and mining; the role of witnessing in social justice struggles; midwifery and social change; and regulation of parentage in gestational surrogacy. Together with John Cutfeet, Dr. Ariss authored Keeping the Land: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Reconciliation and Canadian Law (Fernwood Publishing, 2012). She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Trent University, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Osgoode Hall (York University), a Master of Laws (LLM) from Queen’s University, and a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) from the University of Toronto. She began her academic career in Lakehead University’s Sociology department in 2003, and joined the Legal Studies program at Ontario Tech University in 2010.

Curriculum vitae 2021


  • SJD University of Toronto
  • LLM Queen's University
  • LLB York University

Courses taught

  • Gender, Sexuality and Law
  • Indigenous Peoples, Law and the State in Canada
  • Law and the Body
  • Legal Research Methods

Research and expertise

  • Aboriginal law and rights
  • assisted reproductive technologies
  • law and gender


  • Publications

    Bearing Witness: Creating the Conditions of Justice for First Nations Children” (2021) 36:1 Canadian Journal of Law and Society, forthcoming

    Ariss, R., MacCallum Fraser, C., & Somani, D. (2017). Crown Policies on the Duty to Consult and Accommodate: Towards Reconciliation? McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, 13(1), 1-52.

    Ariss, R., &  Burton, N. (2014). Diversity in Midwifery Care: Working Towards Social Change. Canadian Review of Sociology, 51(3), 262-287. 

    Ariss, R., & Cutfeet, J. (2011). Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation: Mining, Consultation, Reconciliation and Law. Indigenous Law Journal, 10(1), 1-37.

    Ariss, R. (2004). Bring Out Your Dead: Law, Human Remains and Memory. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 19(1), 33-54. 

  • Presentations

    Ariss, R. Bearing Witness: Social Justice, Indigenous Peoples and Non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Walls, Borders, and Bridges: Law and Society in an Inter-Connected World, International Meetings of Law and Society Association (US), June 19 - 23, 2017.

    Ariss, R., & McMorrow, T. Responses in University Education to the TRC Report. Maamwizing: Indigenizing the Academy, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Nov. 17-20, 2016.

    Ariss, R. The Roles of Canadian and Indigenous Law in Platinex v. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. Invited Speaker on Panel Behn, C., Wanless, C., Deneault, A., & Choc, A., “Extractivism, Law and Human Rights” at State of Extraction Conference. Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, March 27 to 29, 2015.

    Ariss, R. Gestational Surrogacy: On the Edge of Motherhood. Law on the Edge. Canadian Law and Society Association and Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, July 1 to 4, 2013.