PhD Candidate Michael Luoma has received a 2023 Sanders Graduate Student Award, awarded to the three best papers in mind, metaphysics, epistemology, or ethics submitted by graduate students for the annual APA Eastern Division. The prize is valued at $1,000 and is funded through the generosity of the Marc Sanders Foundation.

Michael’s research examines the conditions for political legitimacy in Indigenous – settler relationships, especially the requirements for a fair distribution of territorial authority among interdependent, collectively self-determining peoples in a multinational federal system. His Sanders Graduate Student Award-winning paper, “Territorial rights and restitution: the limits of forwards- and backwards- looking theories,” identifies and challenges the common limits of contemporary theories of territorial rights, including both those grounded in historical title rights and those grounded in present-day group occupancy and self-determination interests, to recognize Indigenous rights to recover jurisdictional authority over land. Central to his argument is the idea that contemporary theories of territorial rights have inadequately attended to the complex temporal and geographical patterns of land use among settler and Indigenous peoples, and the importance of developing a latent concept of fairness for the distribution of rights to land present within both paradigmatic forwards- and backwards- looking theories.

Michael has also recently published an article on self-determination and legitimate political authority for Indigenous nations that maintain pre-contact forms of hereditary clan-based government, “Collective Self-Determination, Territory, and the Wet’suwet’en: What Justifies the Political Authority of Historic Indigenous Governments Over Land and People?” in the Canadian Journal of Political Science (2022).