Indigenous Perspectives: Paths to Understanding

Fall 2019 - Tuesday Series

No Upcoming Lectures

Past Lectures

Injichaag: Storytelling and the Soul of an Indigenous Artist

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019

In this presentation, Anishinaabe Elder and artist Rene Meshake will share stories related to his recently launched book Injichaag: My Soul in Story (University of Manitoba Press, 2019). This work was done in collaboration with Metis scholar Kim Anderson, who will speak about the process of working with story and in particular how Meshake’s story fits in the context of a larger narrative of Indigenous peoples in Canada throughout the twentieth century. The two will perform and read from their collaborative work, which includes history, story, poetry and Anishinaabe (Ojibway) word bundles.

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The Creator’s Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019

A gift from the Creator, that is where it all began. In Haudenosaunee culture the game of lacrosse is understood to be a gift from the Creator and it has been a central element of North American Indigenous cultures for centuries. However, the game has undergone a considerable amount of change since the introduction of non-Indigenous players in the 1840s. From that point on, the game was appropriated from Indigenous peoples and molded into a sport stripped of its original cultural and ceremonial significance, reframed instead to exemplify Victorian Anglo values. Through this reformulation, non-Indigenous lacrosse enthusiasts attempted to establish a Canadian identity through the sport and barred Indigenous athletes from competition. And yet, lacrosse’s Indigenous originators continued to play the game and claim it as a significant piece of their identities.

While the game was being appropriated and used to construct a new identity for those that identified with the nation-state of Canada, this presentation will demonstrate it was also at the centre of Indigenous forms of resistance to residential school experiences, a site of pan-Indigenous political mobilization in the first half of the twentieth century, and important venue for articulating Indigenous sovereignty on the world’s stage in the second-half of the twentieth century.

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Determining 'Significance' - The Selection of Indigenous National Historic Sites"

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Cody’s presentation will look at the designation of national historic sites of Canada, specifically sites that relate to Indigenous history. This presentation will discuss well-known Ontario sites such as the Peterborough Petroglyphs and Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, and lesser-known sites such as the Sheguiandah paleo-indian archaeological site, occupied nearly 10,000 years ago.

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Indigenizing the Academy

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions final report and the 94 Calls to Action in 2015, the TRC has challenged Canada to begin the process of redressing the colonial violence that affects Indigenous people living in Canada today. How do we begin to redress over 500 years of colonial violence?  How do we begin to create space for Indigenous ways of knowing and being into Canadian society?  My personal answer: it begins with education. True and honest education at every level of schooling in this country is the only way to begin to fix the gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.  As Wilfrid Laurier’s Indigenous Curriculum Specialist, I have been tasked with supporting the university in creating space for Indigenous ways of knowing and being.  It is a great task to undertake, and it will not be complete tomorrow or any time soon, but that does not mean that we do not begin the process of reimagining what education can be in this country.  I have been asked many times what it means for a university to indigenize their education.  I do not have all of the answers, but I have some ideas of where to begin.  I also have my own educational journey and my ancestors to guide me.

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The Contradiction, and Direction, for Indigenous/Police Relations

Tuesday, Nov 05, 2019

There are lots of conversations happening nation-wide about reconciliation; what it means, and if it can ever happen in the face of so many ongoing injustices continuing to be lived by Indigenous peoples. One thing that is true is that Indigenous and Settler peoples do not live the same lives and they cannot be assured of receiving the “same” when it comes to policing services. Many people in society are able to say that the police are there to protect and create safety. They might even say, “I can expect when I call the police that they will respond quickly and effectively to resolve my concerns and needs.” Contrastingly, Indigenous peoples experience disproportionately higher numbers of violence, underprotection, mistrust, and low confidence in police interactions and responses to calls for help. Their story is likely, “don’t call the police” and “never get into the back seat of a police cruiser.” Examining the ideology that embeds policing policies and practices (as with all societal institutions) reveals systemic colonialism and racism. Is change possible? I believe so; but it will require seeing the humanity in one another, challenging preconceived notions and assumptions about Indigenous peoples, and learning what one did not know.

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What has this got to do with me? I’m not Indigenous. Territorial Acknowledgements 101

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019

The city of Waterloo is situated on lands that are deeply connected to Indigenous peoples who have historically lived and currently live in this territory. These groups include the Neutral (Attawandaron), Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our region is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations, also known as the Haudenosaunee people. This land includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Acknowledging territory shows recognition of and respect for Indigenous peoples, which is key to reconciliation. It shows acknowledgment that the lands now known as Canada had inhabitants prior to European arrival and also that there is and has always been a continued presence. For Indigenous peoples, it is a matter of protocol – a sign of respect – to always acknowledge the hosts when you visit. But what has it got to do with residents in KW, especially if they aren’t Indigenous? This presentation will explore the deeper meaning and reveal whether or not there is any relevance to the KW community.

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Indigenizing Education in Canada: Why? When? How?

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Speaking of the horrific impacts of Indian residential schools and 150 years of Canadian control over the lives of Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation commissioner Senator Murray Sinclair has said, “Education got us into this mess, education will get us out of it.” I believe this to be true, but we must understand that the education he is talking about is not the standard offering which reinforces the notion of western superiority and domination. Indigenous youth are the youngest and fastest growing population in Canada today and our education system will continue to fail them in its present form. Postsecondary institutions must lead the way in developing indigenized, de-colonized education not only to serve Indigenous youth, but to serve all Canadians. In this talk I will look at the ways universities are approaching the challenge of changing a system that has generally failed not only Indigenous youth, but also Canadians over the past 150 years.

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The Seven Generations Philosophy

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Efforts to work towards reconciling the past relations between the Crown, Canadians and Indigenous peoples will be a challenging and cumbersome journey. What this relationship currently lacks is understanding and empathy. Many Canadians wonder why Indigenous people cannot find a rightful place in today’s society, and why is the population health data so poor for Indigenous populations? Why is it that Indigenous peoples cannot seem to just move beyond the past? This keynote will explore the settlement history of Canada and will answers how these alarming and devastating impacts results in the on-going transmission of trauma upon Indigenous people. This interactive talk will challenge and empower the audience; will promote the understanding of Canada’s settlement history; and will encourage a commitment to strengthen a relationship of allyship in order for all peoples to enjoy a safe, fair, and just society for generations to come.

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