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Looking Back at ‘Change the Name’: A Debriefing Circle

On February 8th at 5:30PM (EST), there will be a debriefing circle focusing on the Change the Name campaign.
This circle intends to provide closure to the campaign and provide an  opportunity for the Indigenous community on campus to collectively heal from the emotional and mental distress that was experienced on a variety of levels.
This event is open to Indigenous students, faculty/staff and alumni. It will be facilitated by Konwatsitsa:wi Meloche, who is a community member of Kahnawá:ke, and the circle will be open and closed by an Elder, Michael Standup. As well, participants will receive a small gift for taking the time to participate in this event. This meeting will not be recorded.

Anti-Racist and Decolonial Work in the Academy and Beyond: Registration Open

Registration for the upcoming talks in the Department of English’s Speaker Series has opened. To learn more about this series and ISCEI’s involvement, check out our previous post about it here. These talks are free but require an RSVP, if you would like to register, please follow the links below!

 

Vicky Boldo (Cree/Métis), Autumn Godwin (nehithaw iskwew), Laurence Lainesse (white settler): “Collective Resistance & Solidarity: Creating Social and Decolonial Change” (January 27, 3-5pm EST)

Register to attend this talk here

 

Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate): “Diversity v. Decolonization in the Academy” (February 9, 5-6pm EST)

Register to attend this talk here

Meet Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: New Writer in Residence

ISCEI is thrilled to welcome Leanne Betasamosake Simpson as the first ISCEI Writer-in-Residence, in collaboration with the Mordecai Richler Writer-in-Residence series.

Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, musician, and academic. She has worked as an independent scholar for two decades and lectured at universities across Canada and the United States. In her work, she deals with ideas of Indigenous environmentalisms and land-based knowledge, resurgence and resilience, and Indigenous futurities. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba and currently teaches at Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning. She is a member of Alderville First Nation.

Some of her notable works include Dancing on Our Turtle’s BackIslands of Decolonial Love, and most recently, Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies and its accompanying album Noopiming Sessions.

More information about Leanne and her work can be found at her website.

Speaker Series: How to Do Anti-Racist and Decolonial Work Within the Academy and Beyond McGill Department of English

The EGSA’s 2020-21 Equity and Diversity Committee has organized a four-part webinar / speaker series entitled “How to Do Anti-Racist and Decolonial Work Within the Academy and Beyond.” It will take place in January and February 2021 and is open to both graduate students and faculty members of McGill’s Department of English.

With the support of ISCEI and the Mellon Grant, this series includes Indigenous speakers who will be sharing their knowledge on this topic. Indigenous speakers include Vicky Boldo, Autumn Godwin and Kim Tallbear. See below for some of the topics and speakers in this series!

 

Beth Berila: “Building an Anti-Racist Culture” (January 14, 9-12pm EST)

This interactive workshop will explore how to practice anti-racism at the individual, collective, and structural levels in your department. We will discuss what is already working and generate best practices for anti-racism in our lives, pedagogies, departmental practices/policies, and communities.

Vicky Boldo (Cree/Métis), Autumn Godwin (nehithaw iskwew), Laurence Lainesse (white settler): “Collective Resistance & Solidarity: Creating Social and Decolonial Change” (January 27, 3-5pm EST)

Are you open-minded? Do you welcome diversity and difference as an opportunity to learn and broaden yourself both professionally and personally? Are respect and dignity important for you in team building and community service? This two-hour workshop is intended to provide a culturally safe space for exchange between each of the participants and the presenters. From a perspective of lived experience, we will discuss different strategies of resistance and solidarity implemented by the facilitators and participants in their own communities and within colonial structures of Canada and Quebec. Let’s engage and explore how collective actions of solidarity and resistance can contribute toward the reconstruction of a more just and decolonial society.

Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate): “Diversity v. Decolonization in the Academy” (February 9, 5-6pm EST)

In Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang’s seminal 2012 article, “Decolonization is not a metaphor,” they define decolonization as bringing about “the repatriation of Indigenous land and life.” With this concrete transfer of (re)sources in mind, Dr. TallBear will address the differences between “diversity and inclusion” vs. decolonization. Also drawing on Adam Gaudry’s and Danielle Lorenz’s 2018 article “Indigenization as inclusion, reconciliation, and decolonization,” TallBear argues for a more critical approach than the settler state’s multicultural model of inclusion—one that seeks to aid repatriatiation of “land and life.” Dr. TallBear will provide concrete examples of what repatriation looks like in the context of academic decolonization.

Bettina Love: “We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom” (February 22, 5-6pm EST)

Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving.

 

Indigenous Alumni Ardith Walkem appointed in BC Supreme Court

Ardith Walkem, alumni of McGill (BA), was appointed as a judge in British Columbia’s Supreme Court in December. As an Nlaka’pamux community member, she is the first Indigenous woman to be appointed as a BC Supreme Court Justice. Walkem completed her BA at McGill University and then studied law the University of British Columbia. Walkem is also the owner and partner at Cedar and Sage Law

Taken from the Nanaimo News Bulletin, Chief Don Tom, UBCIC (Union of BC Indian Chiefs) vice-president said;

“Ardith is a brave and bold thinker who challenges those around her to understand the law and different legal traditions in innovative, transformative ways. Her research, work, and teaching have often focused extensively on the application and elevation of Indigenous laws, including in areas of child welfare and specific claims, and have undoubtedly changed the field.”

You can read more about her achievements and appointment here.

Robin Gray Guest Lecturing in the Department of Sociology on January 22nd

On January 22nd from 10:30 – 12PM, Robin Gray will be presenting her research titled: “Repatriating Indigenous Cultural Heritage: A Case of Ts’msyen Songs”. This presentation is part ofa larger speaker series in the Department of Sociology. Information on how to access this lecture will be provided below.

Robin Gray is Ts’msyen and Mikisew Cree, and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Dr. Gray’s current research projects focus on the repatriation of Ts’msyen songs from archives, and foundational issues related to the preservation, management, ownership, access and control of Indigenous cultural heritage.

The repatriation of Indigenous cultural heritage, ranging from bodies and objects to knowledge, is a socio-cultural, spiritual, and political priority for Indigenous communities worldwide. Although Indigenous peoples have had varying levels of success securing the release of their ancestors and belongings from captivity, the repatriation of intangible heritage such as song is a relatively new domain. Drawing on research from an ongoing case study to repatriate a single collection of Ts’msyen songs from multiple archives with, by and for Ts’msyen from Lax Kw’alaams, BC, this talk will offer considerations about the colonizing properties of intellectual property, the reach of Indigenous dispossession in the archive, and why Indigenous laws should be respected as precedent for ownership, access, and control of Indigenous cultural heritage.

To listen to her lecture on the 22nd, you can click here for the zoom link or enter the meeting ID/passcode here:

Meeting ID: 839 2499 2870
Passcode: 042833

Meet Caroline Monnet: McGill’s First ISCEI Artist in Residence

In the upcoming Winter semester, we are so happy to welcome Caroline Monnet as the first ISCEI Artist in Residence!

Caroline Monnet is an Algonquin-French multidisciplinary artist from Outaouais, Quebec. She studied in Sociology and Communication at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and the University of Granada (Spain) before pursuing a career in visual arts and films.

Monnet’s work in film, painting and sculpture deals with complex ideas around Indigenous identity and bicultural living through the examination of cultural histories. She is interested in themes of identity, representation, and modernity. Monnet has made a signature for working with industrial materials, combining the vocabulary of popular and traditional visual culture with the tropes of modernist abstraction to create unique hybrid forms. 

To learn more about Caroline and view some of her current work, check out her website!

The Mellon ISCEI Artist in Residence program is an important means of bringing practicing artists to campus to continue their work, share their expertise, interact with students and faculty members, and enhance knowledge of and exposure to Indigenous art among the campus community and the public at large. The annual Artist in Residence will be co-organized with the Department of Art History & Communication Studies and will be involved in a variety of on-campus activities such as workshops and public exhibitions, and will be available as a resource to students, faculty, and staff.

Two New Courses on Indigenous Languages in Linguistics

In the upcoming Winter 2021 semester, two new courses will be offered by the Department of Linguistics! These courses will be led by professor James Crippen.

Ling 211: Introduction to Indigenous Languages

This course provides and introduction to the scientific study of language through the lens of Indigenous languages in North America. This course includes basic linguistic concepts like sound system organization, word formation and structure, gender and classification, expression of time and space are all explored through examples drawn from Indigenous languages across the continent. Cultural and political issues addressed include orality versus literacy, language endangerment and revitalization, and social policies of support or suppression.

This course will take place on Tuesday/Thursdays from 11:30am to 12:55pm.

 

Ling 411/611: Structure/Analysis of an Indigenous Language

This course reviews the languages in the Na-Dene (Dene-Eyak-Tlingit) family of North America. Topics include: history of research on the family, shared patterns in the organization of linguistic subsystems, genealogical relationships and subgrouping proposals and particular problems that Na-Dene languages pose for linguistic theory. Students will select a particular linguistic phenomenon to review in a final paper, either in depth for a particular lanugage or more shallowly across a selection of languages in the family. Graduate students will apply current theoretical research to their selected topic and will develop a novel analysis of primary data from published sources.

This course will be offered Monday/Wednesday from 4:05-5:25pm. Note that this course is open to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Indigenous Studies Program Presents a Film Screening: Gather

On December 7th at 7pm EST, students from INDG 400 (Food Sovereignty) were invited to watch the film “Gather”, directed by Sanjay Rawal. In addition to the INDG 400 course, students from another course and First People’s House were invited to attend the screening.

“Gather” is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Watch the full trailer for “Gather” here:

Community Engagement Funding: Apply before January 15

ISCEI would like to remind the Indigenous McGill Community that there are funding opportunities available through the Community Engagement Fund. The next deadline for this fund is January 15th. 

This fund supports meetings and visits with Indigenous community organizations; bringing community members to McGill; experiential learning opportunities for students on and off-campus; and other creative partnership opportunities for Indigenous community support on and off-campus.  Some examples include Guest Lecturer compensation, using funds to purchase gift cards, seed funding for larger projects on campus, etc.

All applications will be reviewed by a committee. Funding can be used within 12 months of the review date. To apply for community engagement funding, please apply using this form.

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