Transcript for Eva Ottawa's video

Eva Ottawa: [Words in Indigenous language]

(Text on screen while Eva Ottawa speaks: Title: Making Research more inclusive by opening a dialogue with communities

[Words in indigenous language]

(Text on screen while Eva Ottawa speaks:

Eva Ottawa – Assistant professor

Faculty of Law – Common Law Section University of Ottawa)

The one who brings a clear turquoise blue sky.

Eva Ottawa: I started in 2017, following an invitation from the Faculty of Law – Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa.

(Text on the screen while Eva Ottawa speaks:
Meeting the Atikamekw Nehirowisiwok of Manawan
Promoting the coexistence of legal systems)

I decided to do my research on Opikihawasowin, which is the customary care of children as practised by the Atikamekw Nehirowisiwok of Manawan.

A law had just been passed in Quebec, which recognized customary adoption.

So I decided to document the practice empirically by meeting with community members of Manawan.

(Text on the screen: As of June 2021, only 3.4% of chairholders in the Canada Research Chairs Program identified as being Indigenous. Source: Canada Research Chairs)

Mariette Niquay: [Indigenous language]

(Text on screen while Mariette Niquay speaks: Kokom Mariette Niquay member of the Atikamekw Nehirowisiwok of Manawan)

Eva came to see me asking if I wanted to participate in her Opikihawasowin research. And since I had personally experienced customary adoption, I was interested in participating in her research to ensure customary adoption lives on.

Eva Ottawa: I went to the Elders, the Kokom of the community, to further understand all the concepts and their translation. I had to name the concepts and notions of legal traditions in Atikamekw Nehiromowin

(Text On Screen with Eva Ottawa speaks: “Customary adoption is about taking care of a child and guiding them, helping them grow…” - Eva Ottawa. Source: Anne-Marie Yvon, Radio-Canada)

It was the Elders, the Kokom of the community, who helped me. They even taught me other lessons. I relied a lot on the Indigenous knowledge, to be able to interpret, to further explain, and to understand the data.

Mariette Niquay: In the fifties, I was still living in the woods, we had our tent… I was born in the early fifties. For me, this is normal, it is absolutely normal and essential that these children should never be taken away from their culture. They should never be taken away from their language.

(Text on screen while Mariette Niquay speaks: “Since June 2018, Indigenous customary adoption has been recognized in the Civil Code of Quebec. […] It allows the original parents to retain their rights and obligations, according to the custom in effect in various nations and communities.” Source : Anne-Marie Yvon, Radio-Canada)

I say this because I have seen children leave and  never come back.

Eva Ottawa: It’s important to work with them, to listen. I was moved during the whole process. It is important to value and to reinstate the role of Elders in the transmission of knowledge.

Mariette Niquay: Of course, you have to come to our community to see how we live, how we think, how we talk. To know someone, you have to see them, you have to hear them, you have to know their culture, you have to know how they live. We want to live. Not survive! We want to live. Live our culture, live our language.

(Text on screen: More inclusion, better research. Winner of the 2021 Inspiring Stories Competition.)

(Text on screen: Join us to keep making research more inclusive and relevant for everyone.)

(Logo uOttawa appears on the screen)