Colin studied sociology and medical anthropology in the United States and Britain. His interests span the social sciences and humanities. Since 1994, he has been involved in a long term research project working with the Innu peoples of the Labrador-Quebec peninsula. The early phases of this work involved a human rights campaign with Survival International, resulting in the publication of the widely-cited report ‘Canada’s Tibet: the killing of the Innu in 1999.’ In addition to several journal articles and book chapters on the Innu, his book on the effects of forced assimilation, A Way of Life that Does Not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu was published by Verso Press in 2003. The book was honoured with the Pierre Savard Award by the International Council for Canadian Studies in 2006.
In 2013 a sequel to these works was published, entitled A World You Do Not Know: Settler Societies, Indigenous Peoples and the Attack on Human Diversity (School of Advanced Studies Press). This book examines the intellectual and political architecture by which settler societies justified an attack on the culturally diverse ideas and practices of indigenous peoples. Based partly on ethnographic fieldwork in Innu hunting camps in Northern Canada, the book also looks at contemporary efforts by indigenous groups to reverse some of the more damaging aspects of colonialism through cultural revitalisation projects.
Colin has recently completed a jointly authored book with Carlos Gigoux entitled Indigenous Peoples and Colonialism: Global Perspectives (Polity). The book analyses the many common colonial processes which indigenous peoples continue to experience under the dominion of states. It attempts to show that similar processes of dispossesion and violation of rights occur in First and Third World countries. He recently submitted an extended essay called ‘A State Strategy of Dispossession’ to the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, looking at land claims processes as a form of dispossession involving land theft, extortion and the termination of indigenous rights.