Myra Tait, Independent Scholar, Juris Doctor, Master of Laws

Reframing nutrition and health policy through a decolonizing lens for better balance

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls on all levels of government, businesses, and educators to recognize health disparities among Indigenous Peoples as the direct result of government policies. This session will introduce the importance of Canada’s colonial context as it applies to food and nutrition policy, including the Indian Act, Treaties, land, and taxation. We will discuss the importance of a balanced and inclusive perspective in determining policies that promote health for all. A sugar-sweetened beverage tax will be discussed as a case study to analyze policies using a decolonizing lens that centers the voices of First Nations and urban Indigenous communities in Manitoba.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Myra Tait is Anishinaabe-kwe, is a member of Berens River First Nation (Manitoba) and a direct descendent of Chief Jacob Berens, signatory to Treaty #5. She holds a Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) degree and is called to the Bar of Manitoba. Myra's research has utilized a social justice lens to consider health equity, economic development, and issues arising from historic and systemic racism in law and policy. Myra’s LLM thesis examined administrative law and policy, specifically relating to Indian Act taxation, vis-à-vis Treaty implementation. She has undertaken research in Aotearoa (NZ) and Australia to consider Constitutional barriers to Indigenous rights and economic development in those nations. Myra is widely published in Canadian and international journals, including most recently in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, and Feminist Formations, and is the co-editor of Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal (ARP, 2017). Myra holds a faculty appointment at Athabasca University, but identifies as an Independent Scholar since being placed on unpaid leave in May 2023.