Indians, Ungulates, and Unconventional Oil: The protection of culturally significant environmental features through multi-jurisdictional human rights law.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The thesis considers the expansive interpretation of established human rights law from the provincial, domestic, regional and international legal spheres to protect environmental features crucial to the continued existence of indigenous cultures. Specifically the research will assess whether a practicable basis for a litigious action on these grounds might be constructed and applied. This is achieved through the use of the case study of the extraction of the 'tar sands' of Alberta, Canada. The tar or oil sands are a source of so-called unconventional oil, which has become a commercially viable source of the resource following rises in market price over recent decades. Debate surrounds the environmental impacts of the extraction and refinement processes however and in particular its affects upon inimitable ecosystems in the regions exploited. The indigenous populace of the province are inextricably reliant upon said ecosystems for the expression of their culture and maintenance of their traditional practices. The thesis will answer the question as to whether the interpretation of domestic Canadian, regional and international human rights law offers the potential for a justiciable legal action seeking the cession or restriction of tar sands extraction in order to protect culturally significant and inimitable environments.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
  • Lancaster University
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014