Indigenous Awareness Week 2016: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge into the Learning Environment

January 25-29, 2016

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action challenge the education sector to develop and implement curriculum and learning resources about residential schools, Treaties, and Indigenous peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada. The U of M has made advancing Indigenous Achievement an institutional priority. As our University moves forward in fulfilling this commitment, this weeklong series of panel discussions and presentations will explore some of the questions, challenges and opportunities that come with integrating Indigenous knowledge into the learning environment, as well as look at some innovate work that is already being done in this area.

IAW photo class

Monday, January 25 - Integrating Treaty Perspectives into the Curriculum 
Noon - 1:30                                           
Room 543/544 University Centre

To achieve true reconciliation in Canada, we must recognize the contributions that Indigenous people made in the formation of our nation. This means understanding Treaties, as well as the Manitoba Act, not just from a colonial perspective, but from the perspective of Indigenous people. In this session, educators and students will be exposed to diverse cultural, legal and economic practices that can inform and influence current “mainstream” curriculum development.

Elder Harry Bone - Elder Harry Bone is from Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation where he served as a Chief and director of Education. He is part of the Treaty Relations Commission Speakers Bureau, focusing on the Spirit and Intent of Treaties, First Nations' Perspective, and the Importance of Treaty Education.
Sharon Parenteau - Sharon Parenteau is the general manager of the Louis Riel Institute. She is a Metis educator from the Turtle Mountains in Southwest Manitoba and has worked as a classroom teacher, support teacher, and curriculum developer.

Tuesday, January 26 - Respecting and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge in the Learning Environment
Noon - 1:30 
Room 543/544 University Centre

Historically Indigenous people in Canada have had a tumultuous relationship with education. As we begin to introduce more Indigenous knowledge into the learning environment, how do we ensure that this knowledge will not be co-opted or abused by “the system”? Also, when it comes to research done in Indigenous communities, how do we build better partnerships so Indigenous people do not just become subjects, but are respected throughout the process? We’ll hear from an Indigenous scholar about respecting Indigenous knowledge, and we'll learn about the First Nations Principles of OCAP (ownership, control, access and possession), which allow First Nations to control data collection processes in their communities.

Dr. Michael Hart - Michael Anthony Hart is a citizen of Fisher River Cree Nation residing in Winnipeg. He is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work, Associate Professor with Faculty of Social Work, and the Interim Director of the Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges program. His research, teaching and community work includes attention on Indigenism, Indigenous social work theory and practice, cultural continuity, and anti-colonialism.
Leona Star - Leona Star is Cree from Thunderchild First Nation, Saskatchewan, in Treaty 6 Territory. She has worked for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and now the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba. She is a Research Associate on multiple projects and is the lead Regional Coordinator of two national surveys called the Regional Health Survey and Regional Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey. She is a strong advocate of First Nations self-determination in research grounded in the First Nations principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP).

Wednesday, January 27 - "Surviving the Colonized Classroom"
Noon - 1:30
Killarney Room 210 University Centre

Today’s classrooms are a product of colonization and they are often the site of racism, trauma and resistance. Lisa Boivin is a member of the Deninu K'ue First Nation in the Northwest Territories. A bioethics specialist and interdisciplinary artist, Boivin facilitates workshops on how to survive the colonized classroom. In this session, she will highlight the repercussions of colonialism that are present in the Canadian school system and how curriculum focuses on the colonial perspective of Canada’s history. Finally, she will introduce Indigenous (decolonizing) methodologies.

Thursday, January 28 - Indigenous Course Requirement: Good or Bad?

Noon - 1:30
Room 543/544 University Centre

A number of Canadian post-secondary institutions are introducing an Indigenous Course Requirement. But is making learning “mandatory” the best way to reach students? Is it a one-size-fits-all class? Or will several options be offered to suit students’ degree needs? Do universities and colleges have the capacity in order to make this happen? We’ll lay out the pros and cons of introducing an Indigenous Course Requirement, examine options for what an Indigenous Course Requirement could look like, and explore the logistics for making it happen.

James Wilson - James Wilson is the Treaty Commissioner for Manitoba. Originally from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, he is a an educator who is passionate about bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. James currently serves as an Advisor on the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Council and the University of Manitoba President’s Advisory Council. He is a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press and is regularly called upon by local and national media for his views on a wide range of Treaty-related matters, education and business issues.
Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair - Niigaan Sinclair is Anishinaabe from St. Peter's/Little Peguis, and is the acting head of the U of M's Department of Native Studies. He is a regular commentator on Indigenous issues on CBC, CTV, APTN and other media.
Ashley Richard - Ashley Richard is a proud Ojibway Métis, who is studying Aboriginal Business Studies at the U of M's Asper School of Business. She is the president of the Association of Aboriginal Commerce Students and works for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.
Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie - Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie is originally from Sagkeeng First Nation. She moved to Winnipeg in 2009 and is a fourth-year student at the University of Winnipeg, earning a BA with a double major in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is the female co-president of the University of Winnipeg Aboriginal Student Council, and is part of the committee that worked on the Indigenous Credit Requirement, which was approved by the U of W's senate and will be implemented starting in 2016.

Friday, January 29 - Bringing Residential School Survivors' Perspectives and Knowledge into the Curriculum
Noon - 2
Room 543/544 University Centre

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada spent six years collecting thousands of testimonies of residential school Survivors. As the home of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), the U of M has an opportunity to bring the perspectives and knowledge of Survivors into the classroom. We’ll hear from Survivors who are working with U of M sociologists on the Embodying Empathy Project, which aims to teach the history of residential schools and about their continuing impact. Also joining the discussion is Aimée Craft, director of research for the NCTR.

Ted Fontaine - Ted Fontaine is a member and former chief of Sagkeeng Ojibway First Nation. He attended the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School from 1948-1058 and the Assiniboia Indian Residential School from 1958 to 1960. His memoir is called Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
Mary Courchene - Residential School Survivor Mary Courchene is from Sagkeeng First Nation. She has degrees in both Arts and Education. She spent her career teaching in elementary and high schools, working as a school counselor and as a school administrator. She is now the Elder-in-residence for the Seven Oaks School Division.
Aimée Craft - Aimée Craft is a lawyer, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, and the director of research for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. In her position as director of research, she will guide academics and community researchers in exploring and disseminating knowledge related to Canada's Residential School system, its legacy and reconciliation.
Adam Muller - U of M associate professor Adam Muller is one of the leading scholars working in partnership with Survivors, Indigenous commemorative and educational agencies, archivists, and technology experts on the Embodying Empathy project. This project uses leading-edge digital technologies to create a virtual Indian Residential School. The project's goal is to make people more aware of the history of Residential Schools and their continuing impact.

IAW poster 2016