Robert Clifford

B.A., JD, LL.M. (Victoria), PhD (Osgoode)

Personal profile


Robert is WSÁNEĆ and a member of the Tsawout First Nation, his home community; he carries the name YELKATŦE, which was passed to him by his late grandfather, Earl Claxton Sr.  His PhD research uses community participation methodologies to explore the ways WSÁNEĆ laws are generated by and reflect the values, philosophies, lands, and worldviews of the WSÁNEĆ people. The research is equally important in terms of practical application for the WSÁNEĆ community and as a contribution to theoretical understandings of what it means to responsibly engage WSÁNEĆ law, and Indigenous law more generally, within complex contemporary power structures and dynamics.
Robert is actively involved in the academic and broader community. He has presented his work widely across academic and professional settings, speaking at community events as well. His publications cover a range of aspects relating to Indigenous law and Indigenous legal theory, including on legal pluralism, Indigenous language revitalization, and Indigenous spirituality. He has also taught in the JD program at the University of Victoria, most recently a field course in WSÁNEĆ law. At Allard Law, he will be teaching Law 358: Topics in First Nations Law (Indigenous Law and Climate Change), Law 291: Aboriginal & Treaty Rights, as well as a semester long intensive land and community-based field course in W̱SÁNEĆ law.

Professional Affiliations

  • Centre for Law and the Environment


  • Law
  • Indigenous, Indian, and Aboriginal Law