James (Sa'ke'j) Youngblood Henderson is a research fellow at the Native Law Centre of Canada, University of Saskatchewan College of Law. He was born to the Bear Clan of the Chickasaw Nation and Cheyenne Tribe in Oklahoma in 1944 and is married to Marie Battiste, a Mi’kmaw educator. In 1974, he received a juris doctorate in law from Harvard Law School.

During the constitutional process in Canada (1978–1993), Sa'ke'j served as a constitutional adviser for the Mi’kmaw Nation and the National Indian Brotherhood, Assembly of First Nations. He has continued to write about Aboriginal and treaty rights and treaty federalism in constitutional law. Sa'ke'j is a noted international human rights lawyer and authority on protecting Indigenous heritage, knowledge and laws, and has served as a member of the Advisory Board to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was one of the strategists, expert advisers and drafters of the United Nations Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Indigenous Heritage and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

For his achievements, he received the Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel award in 2005, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Law and Justice in 2006, and an honorary doctorate from Carleton University in 2007. He became a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2013.


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