Indigenous Awareness Week 2017: Identity

March 20-24, 2017

“Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?” These are four questions Senator Murray Sinclair has urged us all to consider. These four questions have been difficult for many Indigenous people to address for themselves because of experiences such as residential and day schools, the Sixties Scoop, the degradation and loss of Indigenous languages, and other historic wrongs. Indigenous people have long lived with oversimplified definitions of identity dictated by the Canadian Constitution. But today, more and more Indigenous people are reclaiming nationhood, culture, traditions, languages and elements of identity that have been lost or adversely affected. During Indigenous Awareness Week 2017, Elders, academics and students will share their experiences and research related to identity and what it will take for all of us to answer: “Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?”

Monday, March 20, 2017 - Elders Gathering
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.                                          
Location: Migizii Agamik - Foyer

Indigenous Awareness Week will commence with an Elders gathering. Attendees will be invited to take part in ceremony and discussions that will facilitate the sharing of Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

Elder Marlene Kayseas
Elder Norman Meade
Elder Harry Bone, Honourary Doctor of Laws
Elder Wanbdi Wakita
Elder Martha Toka-Peet

View full schedule here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - Elders Gathering
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Defining Culture
Location: Senate Chambers
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch
Location: Migizii Agamik - Foyer
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Elder Teachings
Location: Migizii Agamik - Foyer

Defining Culture
9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Senate Chambers (E3 - 262 Engineering Building)

Culture may be regarded as those dimensions of social life in which knowledge, heritage, consciousness and tradition are reflected. This session will explore a working definition of culture by utilizing examples of cultural dynamics. North Americans assume Indigenous peoples are more alike than different when the living reality may not support that assumption.

Martin BrokenlegSpeaker:
Dr. Martin Brokenleg is co-author of the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future and co-developer of the Circle of Courage model and provides training worldwide for individuals who work with youth at risk. He holds a doctorate in psychology and is a graduate of the Anglican Divinity School. He is a retired professor and was most recently Director of Native Ministries and Professor of First Nations Theology at the Vancouver School of Theology. For 30 years, Dr. Brokenleg was Professor of Native American studies at Augustana University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has also been a director of The Neighbourhood Youth Corps, chaplain in a correctional setting, and has extensive experience as an alcohol counselor. Dr. Brokenleg has consulted and led training programs throughout North America, New Zealand, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. He is the father of three children and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Free Lunch
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Migizii Agamik - Foyer

Elder Teachings with Elder Mae Louise Campbell
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Migizii Agamik - Foyer

More information is available here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - Reclaiming Identity
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Red Rising Magazine Issue #5 launch
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Lunch
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Awina kiya! Indigenous identity in the Millennium with Dr. Raven Sinclair
Location: All events will be held in Multi-Purpose Room 224 University Centre
These sessions are in partnership with the Department of Native Studies Winter Colloquium.

Red Rising LogoRed Rising Magazine Issue #5 Launch
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

The founders of Red Rising began the magazine to provide a space for Indigenous youth to use their own voices and to take control of their narrative.

Sadie Phoenix-Lavoie
Ashley Richard
Kevin Settee

Free Lunch
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Awina kiya! Indigenous identity in the Millennium
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.

This presentation examines the notion of identity from a psychological standpoint as well as an Indigenous/Cree perspective. Dr. Raven Sinclair uses her own story of child welfare/intergenerational residential school survivor to illustrate the fragility of identity and the sometimes rocky terrain that we have to traverse in coming to remember who we are as Indigenous people whose identity is intertwined with that of our families, communities, and nations, and our collective history of colonialism.

Raven SinclairSpeaker:
Dr. Raven Sinclair, BA, BSW, MSW, PhD, is a member of Gordon’s First Nation (Nehiyaw - Cree) of the Treaty #4 area of southern Saskatchewan, Canada. She is an Associate Professor of Social Work with the University of Regina, Saskatoon Campus. Her areas of interest include Indigenous mental health and trauma recovery, Indigenous research and ethics, Indigenous child welfare, transracial adoption and cultural identity, interpersonal and non-violent communication, lateral violence intervention, group process and facilitation, and settler colonial theory. Raven likes to balance her academic life with an over-zealous use of power tools to renovate anything within sight. Raven has an eleven year-old daughter, Mercedes, who is the love and light of her life.


Thursday, March 23, 2017 - Indigenous Identity in the Academy
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - Archives and Identity
Location: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Where Métis Identity and Scholarship Intersect with Dr. Adam Gaudry
Location: Multi-Purpose Room 224 University Centre

Archives and Identity
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
National Centre for Turth and Reconciliation (NCTR) (Chancellor's Hall, 177 Dysart Road)

This panel, held at the National Centre for Turth and Reconciliation, will offer a variety of perspectives on archives and Indigenous identities, exploring both the harmful legacy of colonial archives as well as the ways Indigenous communities are adopting and adapting archival practices and technologies to support Indigenous memory traditions.

Justina McKay Wiibidesh Kinaa Ikwe (Hollow Horn Woman) is originally from Pine Creek First Nation (Minaago Ziibing) and is now registered with Cote First nation in Saskatchewan. She is a recent graduate of the U of M with a BA (major in Native Studies, minor in Environmental Studies). Justina is an intergenerational Survivor of the residential school system. She currently works as an administrative assistant at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. She has five grown children and 15 grandchildren.

Camille Callison is from Tsesk iye (Crow Clan) of the Tahltan Nation. She holds a BA in Anthropology and an M.L.I.S. First Nations Concentration and is dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous knowledge, culture and cultural materials. Camille is the Indigenous Services Librarian and Liaison Librarian for Anthropology, Native Studies and Social Work at the U of M.

Ryan Courchene is an Anishinabe member of Fort Alexander First Nation. He currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has a BA, majoring in Workplace and Labour Studies and is currently a grad student at the U of M in the Archival Studies Master's Program. He is also employed at the Library and Archives of Canada, Winnipeg office and has been with the department for over 14 years.

Greg Bak is an Assistant Professor of History, specializing in Archival Studies at the U of M, where he teaches courses and conducts research on digital archiving, archival decolonization and the history of digital cultures.

Where Métis Identity and Scholarship Intersect: Amplifying Métis Voices in Post-Secondary Education
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Multi-Purpose Room 224 University Centre

Academic scholarship on Métis has had a major impact on how we view Métis history, politics, and identity, and it has profoundly shaped Métis-Canada relations. Yet, most of this scholarship has been written by non-Métis scholars, many of whom do not take seriously Métis viewpoints. For better or worse, academia is an important site of contention where Métis engage with colonial visions of our place in the world. As a result, academic research and teaching must aim to be transformative, centring Métis voices and engaging Métis communities in ways that most previous scholarship did not. This presentation proposes several ways that university communities can take on the challenge, by critically engaging how Métis issues are taught and research in the academy, and how Métis Studies scholars and students can actively transform these practices.

Adam GaudrySpeaker:
Dr. Adam Gaudry, PhD, is Métis and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies and Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Adam's research explores nineteenth-century Métis political thought, the Métis-Canada "Manitoba Treaty" of 1870, and the failure of Canada to effectively implement the agreement. This project argues for the maintenance of a respectful and bilateral political relationship between the Métis Nation and the Canadian people as treaty partners. This work is being revised into a book for publication with the University of Manitoba Press. Adam received his PhD from the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria, and both his MA in Sociology and BA (Honours) in Political Studies from Queen's University. He was a Henry Roe Cloud Fellow at Yale University and currently a co-investigator in the Métis Treaties Project. Adam's work has been published in Native American and Indigenous Studies, The Wicazo Sa Review, aboriginal policy studies, the Canadian Journal of Native Education, the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, and The Canadian Encyclopaedia. He also has several chapters in edited collections on Métis identity, research ethics, and methodology.

Friday, March 24, 2017 - Celebrating the Next Generation 
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - Indigenous Graduate Student Research
Location: Room 409 Tier
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - An Afternoon of Indigenous Excellence
Location: Marshall McLuhan Hall

Indigenous Graduate Student Research
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Room 409 Tier

This session will showcase the work of Indigenous graduate students at the U of M whose research reflects the history and contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples, guiding us to better understand where we come from, why we are here, where we are going, and who we are.

Jason Bone is from the Keeseekoowenin First Nation, and is in his first year of PhD Studies. His MA Thesis is titled Baagak Aadisookewin: Legends of history and Memory. Jason's research focuses on Anishinaabe-Ojibwe Story as a method to understand Indigenous Knowledges. Jason is married and father of two children. Jason's presentation for IAW is called: Gii-zhawenimaad Anishinaaben. As the Sturgeon Loves the Anishinaabe people: Doodem Dibaajimowin - Clan Story

Monica CyrMonica Cyr is a proud Métis-Cree woman born and raised in Winnipeg. She is in the second year of her Master's program in the Department of Human Nutritional Science in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences. As a nutritionist, she believes that food is far more than the constituents of the nutrients that are embedded within its makeup; rather, food is sacred and holds various meanings for various groups, which is why she communicates the importance of incorporating culture and kitchen. Her research focuses on Indigenous food systems, which allows her to connect her Métis history, culture and traditions with her passion for nutrition.

Melanie BelmoreMelanie Belmore is an Anishinabe member of the Whitesand First Nation reserve in Northwestern Ontario. She lives in The Pas, Manitoba, but while she completes her coursework, she resides in Winnipeg. She is a first-year PhD student in the Native Studies program and her research focus is in Indigenous literatures, Indigenous literary theory, Indigenous identity and community, but has recently grown a passion for oral traditional storytelling. The title of her presentation is "Searching, Finding, and Reclaiming an Indigenous Identity: An Anishinaabe Academic Perspective."

An Afternoon of Indigenous Excellence
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Marshall McLuhan Hall

Please join us as we celebrate the remarkable achievements and unique contributions of Indigenous students at the U of M. We will honour the recipients of the first annual Indigenous Student Awards of Excellence.

Lenard MonkmanSpeaker: Lenard Monkman is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation, Treaty 2 territory. He is an associate producer for CBC Indigenous and is one of the co-founders of Red Rising Magazine. He has volunteered as a spokesperson and community organizer with Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO!), and has been instrumental in building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Winnipeg. He is also the founder of the annual 100 Basketballs initiative, which to date has given close to 600 basketballs to children in the North End of Winnipeg.


Entertainment: MJ Dandeneau, of Ojibwa/Métis ancestry was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in a French-speaking family. Her tours and studio work have literally taken her all over the globe. She has been nationally recognized with recording awards including a Juno, WCMA-Award and CFM-Award. MJ's deep-seated roots to her French-Canadian and Métis heritage are translated and embodied in the music she creates.

Indigenous Awareness Week 2017 Poster

Read about Indigenous Awareness Week 2017 in UM Today.