Indigenizing and Decolonizing the Academy Symposium

Please note that most panelists mainly speak English. Participants can however express themselves in the language of their choice and volunteers will be present to translate the questions and answers.

Indigenizing and Decolonizing the Academy

Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) reports and recommendations, educational institutions have had a greater responsibility than ever to seek reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada. If we are to renew ethical partnerships between these communities, we must both Indigenize and decolonize the university. This means collectively creating moments where all members of the university community can hear Indigenous peoples’ voices and come to understand Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, being and doing. This is the only way we can re-story and (re)tell the history and origins of Canada and the University of Ottawa. It is also a necessary first step to integrating Indigenous voices in the everyday practices of the University and guiding the revisioning of what and how we teach about, to, and with Indigenous people.

Description

People particapting in an activity during the Symposium

On February 27th and 28th, 2017, at the University of Ottawa, the Indigenizing and Decolonizing the Academy Symposium will bring Indigenous research frameworks, Indigenous epistemologies, and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing to the forefront. This symposium aims to bring together students, staff, and professors from across the University of Ottawa with Indigenous scholars, Elders, researchers, advocates, Elders, and members of Indigenous communities so that they can foster understanding, nurture relationships, and build bridges. This event is an important first step to preparing the way for important system-wide changes in our recruitment, teaching, learning and research practices and in our relationships with Indigenous communities in Ontario and across Canada.

Program

The symposium takes place on two days, February 27 and 28.

Day 1

Monday, February 27, 2017

Location: Room 112, Tabaret Hall (550 Cumberland, at Laurier)

2 p.m. Registration
2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Welcoming remarks and opening ceremony

  • Elder Skip Ross (Pikwàkanagàn)
  • Sylvie Lamoureux (Vice-dean of Undergraduate Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa)
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Blanket Exercise (a bilingual experiential learning exercise on the history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations) (in English)

Facilitators:

  • Shannon Payne (Sakatay Global)
  • Tracy Coates (University of Ottawa, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies)
  • Katelyn Rita-Marie Cody (University of Ottawa Student)
  • Brock Lewis (University of Ottawa Student)
  • Elder Verna McGregor (Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Kitigan Zibi First Nation)

Talking Circle

Facilitators:

  • Shannon Payne (Sakatay Global)
  • Tracy Coates (University of Ottawa, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies)
  • Brittany Mathews (University of Ottawa Student)
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A feast of traditional Algonquin cuisine, in ackowledgement of the University of Ottawa's location on unceded/unsurrendered Algonquin territory, and a welcome to symposium participants

Guest speakers:

  • Elder Skip Ross (Pikwàkanagàn)
  • Elder Verna McGregor (Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Kitigan Zibi First Nation)

Catered by: Wawatay Catering

Day 2

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Location: Room 112, Tabaret Hall (550 Cumberland, at Laurier)

7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Registration

8 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.

Welcoming remarks and opening ceremony

  • Carolyn Laude (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada)
  • Elder Annie Smith St-Georges (Kitigan Zibi First Nation)
8:40 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

First panel session

Panel 1: Respecting Indigenous peoples’ voices and learning from each other

Panellists:

  • Romola Thumbadoo (Carleton University)
  • Sheila Côté-Meek (Laurentian University)
  • Janice Hill (Queen’s University)

Facilitator: Nicholas Ng-A-Fook (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education)

Panel 2: Settler responsibilities in the academy: How to be a better ally

Panellists:

  • Elder Shirley Williams (Trent University)
  • Paula Anderson (Trent University, Graduate Student)
  • Heather McGregor (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education)
  • Daniel Rück (University of Ottawa, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies)
  • Paula Sherman (Trent University)

Facilitator: Kathleen Rodgers (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences)

10:05 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.

Health break

10:25 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

First breakout session

Group 1a: How can the University build better cross-cultural bridges and inter-cultural dialogue with Indigenous peoples?

Facilitator: Warren McBride (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education)

Group 1b: What role can Aboriginal educational organizations play in helping the University of Ottawa to effect systemic reform at the institutional level?

Facilitator: Caroline Andrew (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences)

Group 2a: What engagements and processes are required to build stronger relationships with Indigenous communities in relation to education?

Facilitator: Annette Furo (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education)

Group 2b (bilingual): What concrete actions can the non-Indigenous University Community take to better support the individual needs of Indigenous students to strengthen their success?

Facilitator: Scott Simon (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences)

11:20 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.

Report back from breakout sessions: The full group re-assembles to report. Each breakout group should choose three to five messages that respond to the questions and selects a lead to share them with the full group.

Facilitator: Carolyn Laude (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada)

12:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.

Lunch

Speaker: Kariwhakeron Tim Thompson (Community Member)

Catered by: Wawatay Catering

1:10 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.

Second panel session

Panel 3: Historical consciousness and contemporary responsibilities: Changing the University of Ottawa’s origin story

Panellists:

  • Diana El Richani (Univeristy of Ottawa Student)
  • Elder Annie Smith St-Georges (Kitigan Zibi First Nation)
  • Emma Anderson (University of Ottawa, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies)
  • Brenda Wastasecoot (University of Toronto)

Facilitator: Fred McGregor (Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Faculty of Education)

Panel 4: Indigenous peoples’ experiences at the University of Ottawa

Panellists:

  • Brittany Mathews (University of Ottawa Student)
  • Tracey Lindberg (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law)
  • Marissa Mills (University of Ottawa Student)
  • Tracy Coates (University of Ottawa, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies)

Facilitator: Willow Scobie (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences)

2:40 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Health break

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Second breakout session

Group 3a: How can the University of Ottawa’s central administration take action to change its approach to Indigenous affairs? What opportunities exist to further engage Indigenous students, faculty and staff in University governance?

Facilitator: Heather McGregor (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education)

Group 3b: What opportunities exist for the University to engage with Indigenous communities and Aboriginal Institutes to expand Indigenous-focused programming?

Facilitator: Kariwhakeron Tim Thompson (Community Member)

Group 4a : How can the University of Ottawa take action to build a culture of inclusion and respect for Indigenous students, staff and faculty in its policies and practices?

Facilitators:

  • Paula Sherman (Trent University)
  • Elder Shirley Williams (Trent University)
4 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Report back from breakout sessions

Facilitator: Carolyn Laude (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada)

4:40 p.m. to 5:10 p.m.

Closing remarks and ceremony

  • Barbara Graves (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education)
  • Elder Skip Ross (Pikwàkanagàn)
5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Truth and Reconciliation Exhibit - What does Reconciliation mean to you?

Traditional Smudging Ceremony and Poster Exhibit Launch

Location: Morriset Library in the main entrance 1st floor

Panels

Panelists from postsecondary institutions across Canada will address various themes, including respecting indigenous peoples’ voices and learning from each other, settler responsibilities in the academy – how to be a better ally, and Indigenous experiences at the University of Ottawa. Panels and subsequent breakout groups will help lay the groundwork to bring about important changes at the University of Ottawa as a whole and to act on the TRC’s recommendations to Indigenize and decolonize.

  • Panel 1: Respecting Indigenous peoples’ voices and learning from each other
  • Panel 2: Settler responsibilities in the academy: How to be a better ally
  • Panel 3 (bilingual): Historical consciousness and contemporary responsibilities: Changing the University of Ottawa’s origin story
  • Panel 4: Indigenous peoples’ experiences at the University of Ottawa

Panelists

Emma Anderson

Professor, Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa

Prof. Emma Anderson joined the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa in 2005, the same year she concluded her doctorate at Harvard University.  Prof. Anderson teaches a wide range of graduate and undergraduate courses, though her primary area of research involves native-Catholic religious interactions in North America since the seventeenth century.

Tracy Coates

Professor, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, University of Ottawa

Tracy Coates, JD, is a strategic and creative consultant and educator in the area of critical theory, law and Indigenous knowledge. Tracy is of mixed Mohawk and European ancestry from an Urban Aboriginal Community. Her experience includes being a part-time Professor at the University of Ottawa with the Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, a Program Advisor in the areas of cultural competency and Aboriginal program development with the School of Social Work at Ryerson University and the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, and serving on the legal teams of the Assembly of First Nations and Amnesty International Canada. Ms. Coates has been gifted with traditional knowledge from a variety of Indigenous and First Nations Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and others, particular from Cree, Oji-Cree, Algonquin, and Haudenosaunee nations. Ms. Coates’ mixed-background, urban Aboriginal experience, and traditional knowledge are an integral part of her pedagogical and research approach. Tracy also has a Doctorate in Jurisprudence (JD), and a Masters in Environmental Studies and International Dispute Resolution (MES).

Sheila Cote-Meek

Associate Vice President, Academic & Indigenous Programs, Laurentian University

Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek is the Associate Vice-President, Academic & Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University, where she is responsible for university faculty relations as well as leading Indigenous academic development across various disciplines including the development of an Indigenous Education Centre dedicated to Indigenous learning culture and scholarly pursuit as Laurentian University. As full professor in her home department, the School of Rural and Northern Health, she has developed expertise in Indigenous relations in the areas of health, education, and research, Sheila is a member of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai.

Janice Hill

Director, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, Queen’s University

Kanonhsyonne/Jan Hill is a mother and grandmother and of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation. She has worked in the field of Indigenous Education for more than 35 years. Jan currently serves as the Secretary of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University; Co-Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities Reference Group on Aboriginal Education; Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (OCAV) and the COU Reference Group on Aboriginal Education; and is a member of the provinces Indigenous Languages Symposium Planning committee.

Beginning at the grassroots level, Jan worked her way to an adjunct faculty position at Queen’s in the Faculty of Education where she held the position of Co-Director of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program in 1997/1998. She returned to Tyendinaga in 1999 to teach and coordinate an adult education program, and establish a private high school rooted in Haudenosaunee culture, where she served as Principal for five years. At the same time, she helped establish an alternative program for Mohawk students who were at risk of failure or dropping out – the HOPE program. As Academic Dean at First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) she provided guidance and direction to several post-secondary, secondary and community programs and led FNTI through a process to gain Indigenous Accreditation status with the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium which was granted in 2009.

Jan’s life work has been about the revitalization of the Mohawk language and culture, primarily in her community. To this end she is a founding member and continues to serve the Tsi Tyonnheht Onkwawenna Language and Culture Centre.

Tracey Lindberg

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section, University of Ottawa

Tracey Lindberg is a citizen of As’in’I’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation Rocky Mountain Cree and hails from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation community. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, she is first Aboriginal woman in Canada to complete her graduate law degree at Harvard University. She is thought to be the first Aboriginal woman to receive a doctorate in law from a Canadian University as well having received the Governor General’s Award in 2007 upon convocation for her dissertation Critical Indigenous Legal Theory. An award-winning scholar, Professor Lindberg writes and publishes in areas related to Indigenous law, Indigenous governance, Indigenous women and Indigenous education. Dr. Lindberg is an associate professor in the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research, and teaches Indigenous studies and Indigenous law at two universities in Canada.

Heather McGregor

University of Ottawa

Heather E. McGregor completed her PhD in March 2015 at the Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness in the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. Heather is from Nunavut, where she continues to work and research. In 2010 she published Inuit Education and Schools in the Eastern Arctic (UBC Press). She has also published in The Northern Review, McGill Journal of Education, Canadian Journal of Education and Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies. Heather has participated in writing and implementing curriculum on the history of residential schools in Canada’s territorial North, and is currently working with the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project featuring the Sir John Franklin expedition in the Arctic. Her research interests include: Nunavut’s curriculum and educational policy history, residential schools history, Indigenous historical consciousness, history and social studies education, and decolonization.

Marissa Mills

Undergraduate student, Indigenous Studies and Communications, University of Ottawa.

Dannch’e. Marissa Mills is from Kluane Lake, Yukon. She is a member of the Raven clan and the Southern Tutchone nation. She began her studies at the University of Ottawa in 2013 after completing an Aboriginal Cultural Ambassador training program. Prior to moving to Ottawa, Marissa sat on the Kluane First Nation Council for three years, representing the youth of her nation and making decisions for the community as a whole. She’s also been involved with the Indigenous Student Association at the University of Ottawa for the past two years.

Daniel Rück

Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Ottawa

Daniel Rück teaches history of settler colonialism, Canadian-Indigenous relations, digital history, environmental history, and legal history at the University of Ottawa. His settler ancestors arrived in North America between 1860 and 1960 from the British Islands and Central Europe. He grew up in Austria, Hungary, and Western Canada. Rück's research concerns land tenure and land use on First Nations territories, with a particular focus on the laws by which Indigenous people managed their lands, and how empires and nation-states opposed and undermined these practices. He works with archival sources such as historical survey data and maps, and uses digital tools to visualize and analyze these data. In particular, he works on the history of land management and colonialism in Kahnawà:ke in collaboration with Mohawk experts.

Paula Sherman

Professor (Algonquin), Trent University

B.A. Eastern Connecticut State, M.A. (Connecticut), Ph.D. (Trent). Her background is in Indigenous Histories, Indigenous Women, Indigenous relationships within the Natural World, Colonialism and Resistance, Indigenous Performance.

Romola V. Thumbadoo (Trebilcock)

Carleton University

Romola is the volunteer coordinator of the Circle of All Nations. The Circle of All Nations is neither an organization nor a network, but rather a global eco-community linked by late Indigenous Elder William Commanda’s unshakeable conviction that in a very fundamental way, as children of Mother Earth, we all belong together, irrespective of colour, creed or culture, and that together, we must regain our respect for this penultimate mother.

Romola is of East Indian ancestry, was born in South Africa, and has resided in Canada since 1970, earning degrees in English Literature at McMaster University (BA Hons and MA.)  She worked extensively for the federal government, chiefly within the criminal justice system (federal corrections, Aboriginal justice and policing, and restorative justice) for over twenty-five years. 

Over the past two decade, she has supported the efforts of Elder Commanda to advance Indigenous awareness, racial harmony and peace building and environmental stewardship (pro bono). She also serves as voluntary director of the Wolf Project, which is dedicated to honouring efforts to promote racial harmony.

Romola is the author of two books on the work of Late Indigenou Elder, William Commanda, Hon. Phd, OC, (Learning from a Kindergarten Dropout Books 1 and 2) and has published a photo journal on her kayaking explorations of Bitobi Lake, Quebec, as viewed through the lens of indigenous wisdom.

She is presently engaged in doctoral studies in geography and cybercartography at Carleton University; and is examining the William Commanda discourse and his legacy vision for the Asinabka Sacred Chaudiere site.

Brenda Wastasecoot

Centre for Indigenous Studies, University of Toronto

Brenda Wastasecoot is a Lecturer for the Centre for Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto. She has recently completed her PhD in Adult Education & Community Development at OISE, U of Toronto. Her thesis "Showing & Telling the Story of Nikis: Arts Based Autoethnographic Journeying of a Cree Adult Educator," tells the story of her family's experience of the Residential School policy and growing up outside of a frontier town during the 1960's. She is Cree from northern Manitoba and is a member of the York Factory Cree Nation.

Elder Shirley Ida Williams

Professor Emeritus, Trent University

Shirley Williams (née Pheasant) is a member of the Bird Clan of the Ojibway and Odawa First Nations of Canada. Her Aboriginal name is Migizi ow Kwe meaning Eagle Woman. She was born and raised at Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island and attended St. Joseph’s Residential School in Spanish, Ontario. After completing her Indigenous Studies Diploma, she received her B.A. in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and her Native Language Instructors Program Diploma from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Shirley has received her Masters Degree from York University in Environmental Studies. She was the first Indigenous person in Canada to achieve the rank of full professor based on her Traditional knowledge. She has dedicated her career to researching and teaching Anishnaabe language and culture. Additional research interests are in the areas of Aboriginal residential schools, Aboriginal women’s studies, Traditional knowledge, Aboriginal identity development.

Registration

To register, please send an email to France Racine at fracine@uOttawa.ca.

You will then have to complete the registration form.

Important notice

Photographs, film footage and audio recordings may be taken during this event, which may or may not include your recognizable image, a video or audio recording. By participating in this event, you consent to being photographed, filmed or audio recorded and authorize the University to use the photographs or film in print, digital, video or web-based format for promotional, research, and archival purposes.

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