Prof. Darren O’Toole teaches Aboriginal Law, Indigenous Legal Philosophy, and Philosophy of Law at the University of Ottawa. Throughout his studies in Political Science, O’Toole maintained an interest in Canadian politics, the history of political ideas, political economy, methodology and epistemology. A descendant of the Bois-Brûlé (Wiisakodewininiwag) of the White Horse Plains in Manitoba, who in 1870 foisted upon the nascent Dominion of Canada the first French common law jurisdiction in the British Empire, O’Toole studied Common Law in French at the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick. After earning his law degree, O’Toole completed a PhD dissertation involving an analysis of the “discourse” of the Métis Resistance in 1869-70 that reveals republican conventions both in both speech and act.
O’Toole’s published research has focused on the land claims of his Métis ancestors that led to the Manitoba Métis Federation v Canada (Attorney-General) case. His current research, for which he received a Grant from University of Ottawa’s Research Development Programme in 2012-2013, explores the Anishinabek legal order. His work on indigenous law, notably in terms of relations with the land and self-determination, has led to an interest in legal anthropology and legal pluralism.
O’Toole is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association. As an Aboriginal affairs expert, he is an Open AIR Collaborator on traditional knowledge.